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From My Heart To Yours: A Personal Story

Posted on April 19, 2018 by Deborah Rath, BSN, R.N., Program Director, Valley Thrive!

About five months ago, I lost my best girlfriend and life’s biggest cheerleader. My mom enjoyed 93 years of life...I miss her every day. She was an inspiration to all she came in contact with.
 
As Mom approached her later years of life, she asked me to take on the big responsibility of being her health proxy. As an R.N., I pondered the clinical, emotional and psychological task.
 
When Mom’s health started to decline, I spoke with Tina Basenese, Director of Hospice for Valley Home Care, for her professional guidance to give Mom the most respectful and loving care as possible. We discussed the Practitioner Orders For Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) form, hospice and palliative care to make sure I understood the resources available.
 
I gently approached the subject of a POLST form with Mom. It was definitely not an easy conversation, but very well worth it. She had an advance directive, but I explained that we could tailor how she would like her last days and treatments to be carried out by medical professionals and the need to discuss her desires with her physician and obtain their signature.
 
I am so grateful that we did this together. It was an emotional time, but with her caring physician who understood her desire for a natural passing from this earth, we completed the form. This provided peace for my family as we carried out Mom’s wishes and kept her comfortable.
 
In honor of Mom and National Healthcare Decisions Day (celebrated April 16-22), I encourage you to consider completing a POLST form for yourself and your loved ones. Click here for more information on advance directives and POLST. Once you have filled out the forms, keep copies available for travel and emergency situations. Provide your loved ones with peace knowing that you will carry out their wishes.
 
Life is short; enjoy every day!
 
- Deb
 

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