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Insights Into Cancer – May 12, 2015

Know Your Options for Advanced Care Planning

Presented by Neil S. Wenger, MD and Shawn Kravich

About the Lecture

Americans participate heavily in their own decision making. Often engaging in research or consultation with friends and family on anything major or minor in their lives such as buying a car, a home, choosing a college, choosing a career path or having a baby. Many take pride in their ability to exercise their personal choices. It is a freedom that we embrace, yet only 1 in 20 Americans possess an Advance Care Directive that is up-to-date. In addition to this, many have not had a conversation with their physician or family members about what they might want in the event they are not able to speak for themselves. Less than half of Americans have written a will or estate plan. There is one statistic that has not changed in the last 200 years and it is this fact: 100% of American will eventually die. The cat is out the bag and the “d” word has been stated. In light of these statistics, wouldn’t it make sense to use an event such as a cancer diagnosis to act as a stimulus to begin doing research and taking adequate action.

This presentation brings together a physician and a lawyer to talk about the kinds of decisions everyone should be thinking about and more importantly, developing a plan toward action. This lecture helps to educate patients, family members and their friends about important medical decisions, what is involved in advance care planning, designating a health care power of attorney, making personal choices, completing a POLST (Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment) as well as information about creating wills, living trusts and other estate plans. Ditch your denial, another “d” word and join in on the conversation that empowers you to make your wishes known.

About the Speaker

Neil S. Wenger, MD is a Professor of Medicine in the Division of General Internal Medicine at UCLA and a consulting researcher at RAND. He is director of the UCLA Healthcare Ethics Center and is chair of the Ethics Committee at the UCLA Medical Center. He also is director of the NRSA Primary Care Research Fellowship in the UCLA Division of General Internal Medicine and Health Services Research. Dr. Wenger is an active general internist and carries out research in the empirical study of clinical ethics, care of and decision making for the older patient, and quality of health care. He directs the Assessing Care of the Vulnerable Elders project, which has developed a quality-of-care assessment system for vulnerable older persons and interventions to improve care for this group. Other areas of interest include medication adherence, teaching clinical ethics, and measuring the quality of end-of-life care.
Shawn Kravich currently serves as the Interim Director of the Cancer Legal Resource Center and Director of the Los Angeles HIV Law and Policy Project (“LA HLPP”). He is also an Adjunct Professor of Law at Loyola Law School Los Angeles, where he teaches health law courses. Shawn has spoken at hundreds of different events on cancer-related legal issues, including previous Insights into Cancer events through Simms/Mann.

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