Pour a massive amount of taxpayer dollars into hospice programs.
Fund new and much more liberal palliative care and hospice education.
S. 693 does not define what palliative care or hospice are and what they are not.
S. 693 does not define what abuse of palliative care or hospice is and what penalties will be applied when it occurs.
S. 693 does not prohibit medical killing (i.e., “medical aid in dying,” “physician-assisted suicide,” “terminal sedation” and/or dehydration to cause death, etc.).
S. 693 does not set penalties for violations of the law.
About the author: Lucy Karen Clay is the founder of The Simplicity Project Wellness Initiative (www.TheSimplicityProject.org) and the newest member of the HALO Board of Advisors. Among her many titles and talents, Lucy is a life advocate, educator, speaker, event coordinator and author who provides awareness of end-of-life issues.
By Mary Merritt
It is likely that many of you have “stepped outside the box” sometime in your life. If so, it probably was neither an easy nor a comfortable experience. However, when embarking on a new venture, having a goal keeps a person focused, trusting and persevering, especially when it involves the work of God’s Kingdom.
Last month, a group of us stepped out in faith, forming the Healthcare Advocacy and Leadership Organization (HALO). The HALO board officers are people whose names many of you will recognize: Julie Grimstad, President; Jo Tolck, Vice President; Mary Merritt, Secretary (as well as Executive Director); and Ann Olson, Treasurer. It is our prayer that many of you, individuals and organizations, will support HALO and join with us to accomplish the mission of promoting, protecting and advocating for the rights of the medically vulnerable.
The dictionary lists a number of synonyms for the word support: advocate, uphold, assist and help. “Support” means “to promote the interests; to serve as a foundation; to hold up; and to keep going.” We, the founders of HALO, wish to express our gratitude for support already received and for assistance HALO will receive to keep going and growing.
1. We are grateful for the support of dedicated, knowledgeable, experienced and well-respected individuals who are serving on HALO’s board of directors.
2. We are also thankful for the leaders of important ministries and individuals with specific expertise who generously said “yes” when asked to share their wisdom and talents as member of HALO’s advisory board.
3. We appreciate and are indebted to family and friends who encourage and accompany us on this journey.
4. To everyone who has asked to receive the HALO Monthly newsletter because you desire to become better informed on the issues, we express our gratitude. Please share this newsletter with others. You are invited to be our grassroots supporters who help educate others, contribute articles, and donate time and talent.
5. Funding is often the first thing to be associated with support. HALO definitely has financial needs and goals. We appreciate donations of any amount.
6. We mention last the most important help—prayer support! Prayer is vitally important. Please ask God to keep us focused and faithful to our mission. Pray for our board of directors, our board of advisors, their organizations and their families. Pray for more individuals and organizations to join with us to assist the medically vulnerable and their families. Your prayers are greatly appreciated. Already we have had answers to prayer. Doors are opening before us. In future issues of the HALO Monthly, we will keep you informed about how our prayers are being answered.
In the past two months, we have done a number of things to lay a solid foundation for HALO. We are incorporated and have filed for 501(c)(3) tax status so donations will be tax-deductible. Julie Grimstad just completed a video on “Patient Advocacy.” We’ll let you know when it is available on our YouTube channel. And our website will soon be ready to launch.
We call your attention especially to the inspired design of the HALO logo. It includes the Greek letters alpha and omega, signifying the First and the Last, a name the Scriptures apply to God and His Son, Jesus (see Isaiah 44:6 and Revelation 22:13). It is fitting that we acknowledge and honor God in our logo since we are trusting Him to guide us and bless our work. However, there is a double meaning. The HALO logo also symbolizes our recognition of the common dignity shared by all human beings, from the first moment to the last moment of each person’s life on earth.
None of our progress would have been possible if it weren’t for the various types of support I’ve listed and then some. To all who have helped and all who will help us, we humbly say, “Thank you for assisting us to take that big, high step outside the box!”
By Kellie Fourten
My uncle, we’ll call him John, was the high-functioning co-owner of a large company which he and his partner had built from the ground up. He remained very hands-on. Fair, generous and well-liked, John was the type of boss who would not ask employees to do anything he wasn’t willing to do. When he began to have memory issues, John’s partner accommodated him by overseeing his work in order for him to remain active in the business for as long as possible.
Ultimately, John took up residence in an assisted living facility where he lived for three years. When he was no longer able to meet the requirements for that facility, he moved to a memory care unit in another location.
Since John’s son was a young father with many responsibilities at home, we cousins took turns visiting John at different times each week in order to cover as many days and times as possible.
One day while I was visiting, I learned that John’s son had been advised that his father needed to be in hospice. I questioned the nurse regarding the need for hospice since John was already in a memory unit. The nurse eventually turned his back on me and walked away. John’s son obviously didn’t know the questions to ask when hospice was suggested and I had no authority to intervene. Nevertheless, I made it a point to visit at an unexpected time and encountered the hospice nurse. Upon questioning her regarding their services, I concluded that, other than a harp player, no services would be provided by the hospice that were not already being provided by the memory care unit’s staff.
As my uncle’s condition continued to decline, another cousin and I kept vigil the best we could and were the people most present, given my young cousin’s responsibilities at home. I witnessed the confusion of two CNAs over medication they were supposed to administer. These CNAs were members of the memory care unit’s staff. Hospice staff members were not there to administer medications, check on his positioning hourly as they said they would do, or visit him. John was prescribed Haldol, which was contraindicated due to his age and dementia.* I observed that this drug caused him to hallucinate — not a pleasant way for one’s life to end. Although the hospice charged for services, they did not deliver.
The point I want to make is the importance of choosing the right health care agent. It isn’t enough to choose someone who loves and cares about you. It must be someone who is knowledgeable, will ask appropriate questions, and is firm enough to stand up for your rights and protect your wellbeing. Although I fit both categories, I was not named as John’s agent and had no legal authority to intervene.
Do not let what happened to John happen to you or your loved ones. Choose health care agents carefully.
It’s one thing to talk about human suffering and another thing to do something about it.
Are we so caught up in our own lives that we have no time to help anyone else? A friend? A neighbor? An elderly person? A lonely person? A sick or injured person? A suffering person?
Most of us are familiar with the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37). A man is beaten and robbed and lies on the side of the road. The priest and the Levite pass him by, but the Samaritan stops and tends to the wounded man and even goes the extra mile to take him to a safe haven, an inn, and promises to pay for whatever he needs.
The Samaritan is the hero in this story. Perhaps the first two passersby were so busy going about their business that they thought they did not have time to help the injured man. It takes time, effort, energy and sometimes money to be compassionate, to love another person as we would like to be loved.
The only way we can effectively change the culture is to first change ourselves, to show the world what sincere respect and compassion for every human being looks like in action.
It is really simple. Stop passing up the opportunity to make a difference in the world. Be a hero.