Medicare Administration has a Senior Moment

Yesterday, I wrote about hospice and how Medicare was now paying for end of life planning.  Oops!  I was wrong.  Today, the Medicare Administration states they are removing that regulation and will not pay for it.  It seems somebody in those offices is having a senior moment.  Forgot you gave it the OK?  Are you missing your keys too? Still hung over from the New Year?

There has been much positive chatter on the healthcare blogs about the initial change.  Many discussions about hospice and what the new regulation will allow.  It has been like a dam bursting.  It was such a great buzz.  I have to scratch my head as to why it had to be changed. Oh let me guess….. somebody doesn’t want any political backlash and recreate death panels misinformation.  I do want to know who approved this change!!!

I guess talking about end of life options is back in the closet.  I was ranting and raving this morning to my husband about this change.  He reminded of the experience of his father when he choose to stop his dialysis.  Here is the story.

My father-in-law was a doctor .  He was diagnosed with Wegner’s Disease in 1978.  The disease caused his kidney’s to fail and he went on dialysis at home five days a week for six hours a day.  It was hard.  He couldn’t go anywhere.  In 1985, he was hospitalized.  At this time, he decided it was time to stop the dialysis.  He was a doctor, he knew what it meant.  It was not an easy decision but he knew it was what he wanted.  So he stopped the treatment.  On the first day of stopping treatment, one of his doctor colleagues came him to try and change his mind.  He kept telling him to give it more time and something may change.

My father-in-law had made the decision knowing he would die.  He made his own end of life planning without the help of the medical staff.  He had the courage to not listen to false medical hopes.  He felt it was false hope.  He had quality time with his family and everyone got to say goodbye.

Patients need to know there are options at the end of life besides aggressive medical treatment.  The point is, patients need to make the decision and they need all pertinent information.