Why talking about end-of-life care makes dying easier for everyone

While the majority of Americans say they’d rather die at home, in many cases, that’s not what happens. Among people 65 years of age or more, 63 percent die in hospitals or nursing homes, federal statistics suggest, frequently receiving treatment that’s painful, invasive and ultimately ineffective. And Hawaii is one of the states where people are most likely to die in the hospital.

The video that Lena Katakura and her father, who was recently diagnosed with esophageal cancer, watched pulled no punches. It begins: “You’re being shown this video because you have an illness that cannot be cured.” Then, in an undramatic fashion, it shows what’s involved in CPR, explains what it’s like to be on a ventilator, and shows patients in an intensive care unit hooked up to multiple tubes. “You can see what’s really going to be done to you,” says Katakura.

And you can decide not to have it done. The video explains that you can choose life-prolonging care, limited medical care or comfort care.

The simple, short videos are being shown in medical offices, clinics and hospitals all over Hawaii now. And they’re being shown in many of the languages that Hawaiians speak: Tagalog, Samoan and Japanese, among others. Katakura and her father watched the video both in English and in Japanese.

“Some patients have said, ‘Wow, nobody’s ever asked me what’s important to me before,’ ” says Dr. Rae Seitz, a medical director with the nonprofit Hawaii Medical Service Association — the state’s largest health insurer. She says there are a number of obstacles that keep patients from getting the treatment they want.

Read full, original article: Videos On End-Of-Life Conversations Ease Tough Choices

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