We prepare for life’s most important events – education, career, weddings, birthdays and vacations – with careful planning. Yet, when it comes to serious illness and death, one of the nation’s most influential leaders in hospice and palliative care says Americans just don’t want to talk about it.
Dr. Ira Byock, founder and chief medical officer of the Providence Institute for Human Caring, will lead a community conversation on how to improve care through the end of life, 5:30-7 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 26, at the Broadway Building Conference Center, 500 West Broadway.
Free and open to the public, “The Future of Whole Person Care” event is presented by Providence Health & Services Western Montana as part of its monthly series, “Transforming Health Care.” Sally Mauk, news director emerita of Montana Public Radio, is the moderator.
“Not talking about serious illness and dying won’t prevent either from happening. It only makes it more likely to happen in a way you wouldn’t have wanted,” says Dr. Byock, who has a home in Missoula. “Dying is hard. But the American health care system makes it a lot harder than it needs to be.”
“It’s humbling to think that nearly two decades ago, we started the Missoula Demonstration Project to explore how we could live in community with one another, rather than merely in proximity to one another, during illness, caregiving, dying and grieving,” he says. “Now, through the work we’re doing at Providence, we have an opportunity to re-engage communities in dialogue on dying well and show the world what the best care possible looks like.”
“We are proud to welcome Dr. Byock to Missoula to discuss this vitally important part of everyone’s life,” said Jeff Fee, chief executive, Providence Health & Services Western Montana. “We’re hoping that attendees walk away from this event with a better understanding of the issues and the confidence to make more informed choices for themselves and their family members.”
Dr. Byock is author of The Best Care Possible (2012), in which he tackles the crisis surrounding serious illness; The Four Things that Matter Most (2004), used widely as a counseling tool in palliative care, hospice programs and pastoral care; and Dying Well (1997), a standard in the field of hospice and palliative care.
For more information regarding monthly topics and panelists, visit the Providence website.