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Pivotal Times To Make Every Moment Count

Posted by Sarah Bealles

Pivotal Times To Make Every Moment Count
Sarah Bealles, CHPCA, President & Chief Executive Officer

I feel so blessed to live during a time when advances in medical care and technology have helped many to live with or live through life-altering conditions, exceeding disease trajectories by not just weeks, but months and even years. But there comes a point in a serious illness when even the most cutting-edge, technical, and specialized medical interventions do not get us where we want to be.

We want to be pain free. We want our families and friends close by. We want to go to the park with our grandkids. We want to pet our dog, snuggle up with our cat. We want to talk about our faith, what holds meaning and purpose in our lives. We want to listen to music, tell stories, listen to our kids, and hold hands with our spouse.

For these and many other reasons, I am grateful to lead an organization that serves
individuals facing serious illness and their families. Because, while medicine has advanced and enabled us to extend our lives, it doesn’t change the fact that living well in the time we have left is often more important than living at all costs. JourneyCare, the newly combined agency of Horizon Hospice and Palliative Care, JourneyCare, and Midwest Palliative & Hospice CareCenter, works each and every day, in the 10 counties of Chicago and northern Illinois, to make every moment count. Today, we care for nearly 3,000 seriously ill patients and families every day, in homes, hospitals, clinics and in our five inpatient Hospice CareCenters. This includes nearly 200 seriously ill children served by our pediatrics program.

We recently unveiled our organization’s new brand. We are one team with one mission, providing exceptional care. Our branding was an important milestone for our newly combined organization. Our new logo represents each of the three legacy organizations with new colors and designs that will guide us into the future. Today, as we look back on our more than 100 years of combined service to our community and forward to our future, I am so proud to celebrate this important announcement and all that it represents―the spirit of all the people we serve and all the people who work here. I encourage you to take a moment to learn more about our agency and brand.

I have been working in palliative, supportive and end-of-life for more than a decade, and I’ve witnessed how this care transforms lives. It has changed me personally in truly profound ways, and because of this I have committed myself to advancing this work. I was drawn to this field because I felt these services and the expertise provided were underutilized, underappreciated and misunderstood in the community. I believe that end-of-life care and dying is the height of humanity and an opportunity to showcase our capacity to love deeply. I recently shared some of these experiences in a TedX Talk.

The fact is that we are mortal. We must all face this fact and work to help others to appreciate this reality too, because if we don’t plan what we want now someone else will do it for us. These conversations become harder during the final hours of a loved one’s life. We should connect with our loved ones and have conversations about what is most important and meaningful to each of us. Talk about what each of our goals for care might be when treatments are no longer effective. I’ve seen what a difference a conversation can make and how opening up about our wishes is so valuable.

This is a pivotal and exciting time in the world of healthcare, though we have no crystal ball to see exactly how healthcare will be delivered or reimbursed in the coming years. I believe that now―with the strength of our combined resources, expanded service area, team of highly trained clinicians, and focus on enhancing services―JourneyCare is uniquely positioned to meet needs of those facing serious illness despite the uncertainties of healthcare.

Information to help you understand your options can be accessed through our website at www.journeycare.org or call us at 224-770-2489.

Comments (2)

  • Marti Williamson

    07 December 2015 at 23:11 | #

    Dear Sarah,
    just a note to thank you again for caring for my Bob. And to also to wish you and yours a Happy Holiday.

    Marti W.

    reply

  • Jay Drayer

    08 December 2015 at 19:53 | #

    Up until I viewed Sarah's incredible TED Talk, it honestly never occurred me how critical it is to fight the fight I want to be fighting... vs. one prescribed for me by doctors simply because I've failed to let my loved ones know my wishes. Profound thoughts about quality of life, when approaching end of life. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bNux92rp4vo

    reply

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