LoveLegacyDignity aspires to playing an advocacy role for shifts in society in terms of the health insurance industry and the legal framework as well as supporting the ethos of patient’s rights.
LoveLegacyDignity works with individuals with its focus on fostering conversations that enhance how we choose to live and transform how we engage with the ongoing presence of our inevitable mortality.
Early discussions about death and dying lead to more patient empowerment, as they improve their health literacy – regarding their end-of-life choices. It helps them give informed consent on what they would like their Medical Proxies and health specialist to do for them when they can no longer speak for themselves.
An enabling environment would facilitate the effectiveness of our work.
Engagement with health insurance service providers.
Research shows that when people have Advance Directives in place early in their lives that in the longer term they:
- Spend less money on end-of-life medical interventions (research shows end-of-life expenditure down by 35% in La Crosse Wisconsin –compared to other similar socio-economic towns). Early conversations make people clearer about what they want and don’t want. The financial benefits are both personal – people are less likely to deplete their savings- as well as for the health insurers.
- That people live longer (even though they spend less) – the hypothesis would be that they have less stress because of the early conversations.
- That there is less family conflict (also contributing to less stress) because of the discussions and decision-making which support the dignity of all concerned.
Firstly, incentives for the completion of Advance Directives. Many health insurance service providers offer incentives for gym and exercise activities as well as undertaking regular tests such as mammograms etc. Our engagement with the health insurance industry is to encourage them to offer an incentive to individuals to complete their Advance Directive and nominate their Heath Care Proxy – the person who will make decisions for them if they are not in a position to do so for themselves.
Secondly, a technology step-up is needed so that such documents as the Advanced Directives are immediately accessible when someone arrives at a hospital for emergency treatment.
Engagement with the legal framework
Countries differ and within countries states differ. So what would be the perfect universal commonality that would most support dignity?
- The ongoing legal standing of a person’s chosen Health Care Proxy to continue through to the end-of-life whatever the circumstances e.g. coma, Dementia etc.
Engagement with education curriculum designers so that doctors, lawyers, financial advisors, spiritual advisors and social workers are more comfortable to encourage breaking current taboos that prevent people from having conversations about their mortality.
Supporting Patient’s Rights
- We advocate that patients’ rights should prevail over the preferences of the medical profession. There are still too many instances where people who have Do Not Resuscitate orders in place find themselves being resuscitated (e.g. a 98-year-old woman with Alzheimer’s and a DNR who is resuscitated when she has a heart attack). The Hippocratic Oath asks doctors to pledge to be “healers of life and easers of death” – in our 21st century of medical advances there’s a predisposition for medical intervention that has displaced the ethos of “easers of death”
- The paramount right of a person to make choices that may hasten their death in the circumstances of intractable suffering.