JFS Partnership with United Family Medicine Continues During COVID
by Chris Kellogg, JD, Aging Services Director
What began in early 2019 as a discussion with two United Family Medicine residents about collaboration in the area of Advanced Care Planning has grown into an ongoing partnership addressing end-of-life concerns for our West End community. Despite Stay Home restrictions, we hosted a successful virtual event highlighting how important talking about end-of-life issues is during the pandemic.
The residents were awarded a grant to fund our partnership. We met regularly to discuss bringing end-of-life planning to our community. As a result, we jointly hosted three in-person events.
Last August we invited the community to view the film “Being Mortal,” featuring Dr. Atul Gawande who advocates that an individual’s own personal goals for quality of life at their end of life are more important than what might be medically possible. The film was followed by a panel discussion of professionals from the Jewish and hospice communities, along with a question and answer session.
In February we hosted a two-part series, “Who Speaks for Me?” focused on having conversations with those you would like to speak on your behalf when you aren’t able to express your end of life preferences. We viewed the film by Dr. Gawande, followed by a discussion with professionals. After dinner, we played the “Hello” game, an engaging way for you and your loved ones to share what gives you joy and brings meaning to your life. It ultimately leads to your own clarification, as well as your loved one’s understanding, of your end-of-life goals.
As the pandemic unfolded, we knew that discussing end-of-life issues with loved ones had taken on even greater importance. With our UFM partners we designed a virtual opportunity to address these concerns. In May we opened the door to end-of-life conversations, hosting “Tea and Talk” with Rabbi Lynn Liberman and Tara Burns from JFS and our UFM partners. We listened to a mother and daughter share the story of their recent ‘what if’ discussion about potential COVID hospitalization. The doctors also shared their experiences talking to seriously ill COVID patients at the UFM clinic. You can watch a recording of the presentation here.