Respecting Choices — New effort touts importance of advance directives

November 8, 2013

We are hosting an special advance directives event on Nov. 21, 2013. Click here to learn more.

When planning for the end of life, many people think about the gifts they would like to leave their loved ones.

They create wills to divide up their belongings. They plan for savings and assets to be given to family or charitable causes.

Click to view the event postcard.

Come to our Nov. 21, 2013 event. Click to learn more.

However, there is an even bigger gift that most people in mid-Missouri haven’t even considered — specific instructions for care should they become unable to communicate at the end of life.

Such instructions, contained in a document called an advance directive, can relieve families of the huge burden of having to guess a loved one’s wishes.

“The problem is trying to determine what the patient wanted,” said Dorreen Rardin, Boone Hospital Center’s supportive care coordinator. “So, as a doctor or nurse, you try to get the consensus of various family members. Many times, that is very hard to do.”

Dorreen works with families through this process on a daily basis. Sometimes, these decisions can lead to family disagreements and even create lasting rifts.

To help solve this problem, Boone Hospital is beginning a new community-wide program encouraging everyone to create an advance directive.

Called Respecting Choices, the program comes from the Gunderson Health System in La Crosse, Wisc. In the La Crosse area, nearly everyone has an advance directive. A survey of cancer patients at Boone Hospital earlier this year found only about one-third had taken this step.

The program will establish a community network of people who have completed the simple training necessary to help others create an advance directive. The network will include hospitals, churches, schools and many other local organizations.

“It’s a discussion that starts with ‘what are the things that make your life worth living?’” said John Bolton, who is volunteering to help establish Respecting Choices in mid-Missouri following his recent retirement from managing Boone Hospital’s inpatient cancer unit. “Based on how people answer that question, that’s how you can begin to talk about what kind of care they would choose for themselves at the end of life.”

For every person, the answer is different. After having an advance directive discussion, some people make it clear that they would not want life-sustaining care if it meant living severely incapacitated. Others say they would want every treatment possible, no matter what.

Either way, having an advance directive ensures the patient’s wishes are known.

Creating an advance directive requires more than simply writing your wishes down on paper. Once complete, with the help of a trained volunteer, the document should be distributed to local hospitals and physicians to be kept on file.

However, it’s equally important that the advance directive is also shared and discussed with family members.

“That’s a critical discussion to have,” Dorreen said. “It’s something they can feel good about, because you are protecting them from having to decide things they might not want to decide.”

At different stages of life, people need to remember to keep their advance directive up-to-date as wishes often change.

“If you make one out when you’re 35, it’s going to be different when you’re 88,” said John.

The local Respecting Choices efforts will kick off during a community presentation on Thursday, Nov. 21, at Boone Hospital Center. Everyone is invited to reserve a seat to attend.

“This is a truly gift that you give to you loved ones,” said Dorreen. “With an advance directive your family and caregivers don’t have to spend that time and energy trying to figure out what you want — you’ve told them.”

“Kind, professional and above all caring” — Praise for emergency department nurse

September 24, 2013

By Molly Aust

Molly, of Columbia, shared this story via email. Click here to share your story.

First of all, I would like to apologize for the delay in getting this note out to the appropriate person. However, it has been a very difficult time for our family and we can’t move forward with the grieving process without thanking a very special employee at Boone Hospital.

rainbowOn August 7, 2013, our mother and grandmother was brought to the emergency room by ambulance due to what was a life ending stroke. One of the people on duty that morning in the ER was Nick Weston. He was the person primarily in charge of our mother’s care. I have never seen such a compassionate person.

Nick was kind, professional and above all caring. He is truly a patient-centered caregiver. Nick sat and talked with us; he treated our comatose mother like she was awake and knew everything that was going on. He was so gentle when he did hands on procedures such as repositioning her head and wiping her face. I have never seen a health care professional so kind to both her and the rest of our family.

Nick gave us time to be alone but would periodically check to see if we needed anything. He also kept us updated on the preparations of her palliative care room. Our mother had an advanced directive and Dr. Charles Chapman assured us that it was her choice to not receive any specialized care but nonetheless it was horrible for us to let go.

When we left the ER to go to the third floor it was what Nick said that made the move easier. Nick thanked us for making the difficult choices we had to make that horrible morning. It was like he knew our mom and he understood her wishes and what we were going through.

I don’t know what kind of awards you have for employees but Nick deserves special recognition for his work that morning.

Once again thank you.
-The family of Ivah Dean Mohr

Donation supports Boone Hospital’s work to provide comfort at end of life

April 4, 2013

The Boone Hospital Foundation has received a $20,000 donation in honor of the hospital’s Supportive Care service.

Foundation donation 2013

From left, Marlee Walz, director of patient care services; Barb Danuser, executive director of the Boone Hospital Foundation; Mandy Schmidt, palliative care nurse; Dorreen Rardin, Supportive Care coordinator; Dr. Michael Daly; John Bolton, manager of medical oncology.

Supportive Care provides a wide spectrum of services that promote comfort and healing during a patient’s hospital stay. Those services include: massage therapy, spa treatments, healing touch, music therapy and aroma therapy. In addition to these services, for patients facing the end of life, Supportive Care also provides comfort bags with a soft blanket, stuffed animal, journal, photo album and visitor log.

An anonymous mid-Missouri woman provided the donation in recognition of the caregivers who gave comfort to her husband during his final days. The gift will support Boone’s Supportive Care Program.

“Boone Hospital Center is blessed to have an outstanding Supportive Care program that works with a variety of patients across our many care units,” said Barbara Danuser, executive director of the Boone Hospital Foundation. “The donor was incredibly moved by the care provided to her husband before he passed away. Her gift will help bring that same level of comfort to future patients.”

Coins for Jacquie — 4-H donation honors former leader

October 8, 2012

Jacquie Stuart dedicated much of her life to working with Monroe County youth through the 4-H program.

In January of this year, Jacquie passed away just 10 weeks after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. It was a sudden loss for her family and the 4-H community.

Seeking to honor Jacquie’s memory, 4-H kids this summer started a “change war” at their annual camp and collected more than 70 pounds of spare change, totaling $291.22. On Oct. 1, they brought a huge sack of coins to Boone Hospital Center, donating them to the hospital’s Supportive Care program.

“We are very honored that they all came together and did something like this during their week at 4-H camp,” said Jess Stuart, Jacquie’s daughter and an occupational therapist at Boone Hospital.

Due to her dedication to the 4-H community, one of Jacquie’s longtime friends joked that when the hospital checked her blood, he was surprised it wasn’t green. She had served 4-H for more than 25 years, reaching hundreds of young people in her community.

“I don’t even know if I could add up how many kids she mentored over the years,” Jess said. “She taught leadership and instilled a lot of values as Monroe County’s Youth Executive Assistant.”

Jacquie Stuart

The 4-H members chose to donate to Supportive Care because the service helped Jacquie and her family find comfort during her time at Boone Hospital.

Supportive Care provides services such as massages, spa treatments, healing touch and music and aroma therapy. For patients facing the end of life, the service also provides comfort bags with a soft blanket, stuffed animal, journal, photo album and visitor log.

Supportive Care Coordinator Dorreen Rardin said the generous donation would help fund more comfort bags for patients.

“This is awesome. It’s going to help a lot of patients,” Rardin said. “We certainly appreciate this gift.”

At father’s end of life — thankful for Boone’s love and compassion

July 19, 2012

By Stacey Ferguson

Stacey shared this story via the online submission form. Click here to share your story.

My dad spent the last two weeks of his life at Boone Hospital. Dad had colorectal cancer, he was diagnosed two years ago.

Two weeks ago he had another bowel obstruction and needed surgery. We thought he would recover and go home, but God had other plans. Dad never fully recovered, his body was wore out.

A week after the surgery he suffered a stroke and had more surgery. Dad passed two days later.

The care he received and the care the family received was wonderful. Dad spent those last two weeks in ICU.

The nurses were nothing but wonderful with Dad and us. I am very pleased with the care he received and the love and compassion that was shown to by the nurses.


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