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Msca Annual Meeting Urges Families To Talk With Health Providers: Plan For End Of Life Choices
Experts caution against waiting until illness strikes before discussing options
By: Mass Senior Care Association
EXPERTS CAUTION AGAINST WAITING UNTIL ILLNESS STRIKES BEFORE DISCUSSING OPTIONS
Most residents in the Commonwealth understand the need to discuss their end of life wishes but are hesitant to do so, said experts at the Massachusetts Senior Care Association's (MSCA) Annual Meeting in Worcester today.
According to a survey released earlier this year by the Massachusetts Coalition of Serious Illness Care, only 10% of people report having spoken to a healthcare provider or someone willing to make healthcare decisions on their behalf about how they would like to be cared for at the end of their lives.
"Many people have experienced situations where a loved one becomes seriously ill or has neared the end of his or her life and tough decisions had to be hastily made," said Maureen Bisognano, President Emerita and Senior Fellow Institute for Healthcare Improvement and the Co-Chair of Massachusetts Coalition of Serious Illness Care, who delivered the keynote address at today's meeting. "It's vitally important for all of us to have conversations about what we want for ourselves before that time comes. It may be a difficult thing to talk about, but it makes things easier during a stressful and emotional time."
The baby-boom population is one of the fastest growing populations in the state. A 2014 UMass McCormack Institute report estimates by 2030, seniors will make up 30% or more of the population in two-thirds of the state.
"This is something that will become increasingly relevant as our population ages," said Tara Gregorio, President of the Massachusetts Senior Care Association. "Our members care for 150,000 residents, and ensuring meaningful end of life discussions with residents, staff and family members is an integral part of what we can help provide."
Dr. Elizabeth Chen, Assistant Commissioner, MA Department of Public Health and Ellen DiPaola, Esq., President and CEO, Honoring Choices Massachusetts also spoke at today's meeting.
ABOUT: The Massachusetts Senior Care Association represents a diverse set of organizations that deliver a broad spectrum of services to meet the needs of older adults and people with disabilities. Its members include more than 400 nursing and rehabilitation facilities, assisted living residences, residential care facilities and continuing care retirement communities. Forming a crucial link in the continuum of care, Mass Senior Care facilities provide housing, health care and support services to more than 150,000 people a year; employ more than 77,000 staff members; and contribute more than $4 billion annually to the Massachusetts economy.