New video helps seriously ill patients make decisions about their medical care prefrences

By Rich Schneider

A new video will help seriously ill patients in Indiana decide what kind of medical care they want at the end of their lives.

The video was written and produced by Susan Hickman, an Indiana University School of Nursing professor who co-directs the IUPUI Research in Palliative and End-of-Life Communication and Training Signature Center. It was made in collaboration with the Indiana Patient Preference Coalition, a volunteer group of stakeholders who provide education.

The video was made possible through a grant to the School of Nursing from the Walther Cancer Foundation.

The release of the video coincides with changes in Indiana law that took effect July 1 to ensure that patients' decisions about their medical treatment are honored.

Titled "An Overview of Important Treatment Decisions for People with Advanced Illness or Frailty," the 12-minute video guides viewers through key treatment decisions to help prepare them for conversations about the Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment form. The POST form is an advance-care planning tool for people with advanced illness, frailty or terminal conditions. It helps ensure that health care providers in all settings know and honor patient treatment preferences.

The video addresses decisions about cardiopulmonary resuscitation, medical interventions, antibiotics and artificially administered nutrition.

It also addresses some misconceptions. For example, Dr. Lindsay Weaver, assistant professor of clinical emergency medicine at the IU School of Medicine, tells viewers that while CPR always seems to succeed in a television show or a movie, only 13 percent of older hospitalized patients with one or more serious chronic conditions survive CPR. Those who survive may suffer significant injury, including brain damage from lack of oxygen.
The right answers to what kind of medical treatment a patient should choose rest with each patient, according to the video. Patients are encouraged to talk with their health care professionals so treatment decisions reflect their goals, values and preferences.

Based on feedback from stakeholders, the 2018 Indiana General Assembly updated the POST Act with House Enrolled Act 1119. Changes included authorizing advance-practice nurses and physician assistants as signers of POST forms, in addition to physicians. Other changes include allowing health care providers to honor POST forms from other states if those states' POST laws are similar to Indiana's. The bill passed unanimously in the Indiana House and Senate.

The updated POST form is now available for downloading.

Story orginally posted by News at IUPUI.