Engage in Other Ways

POLICY

  • Lobby your congressperson about health issues important to you. Eg, Family & Medical Leave overhaul; advance the Care Corps Act. 

  • Run for office on a platform of person-centered healthcare reform, or health + justice

  • Policy makers: know what’s happening on the ground and root out barriers to care; integrate qualitative and social-science methodologies; revisit the Flexner Report and how medical education is structured and funded.

EDUCATION

Medicine, nursing, social work, chaplains, aides, therapists, counselors – the healthcare workforce. And, K-12 and secondary education teachers as well.

  • Teachers: Teach about loss and grief, about interconnectedness, nature, and the relationship between giving and receiving care, and the relationship between self and other.

  • HR professional: add a “fundamentals of caregiving” benefit packages; explore ways to promote a reasonable and kind medical leave policy and ways to gift days off to colleagues in need.

INFRASTRUCTURE

Builders and designers, create with eye toward function AND form; help us feel safe to fall apart; help us get to what’s possible. Anything designed can take frailty and vulnerability into account.

  • Bricks & mortar: hospitals, clinics, and community centers 

  • Communications tools

  • Durable-medical and adaptive equipment.  Orthopedic shoes can be beautiful!

SOCIAL

Media, informal communities, language, art, song, faith: if these are your fortes, there is a ton of work to be done. We can all help by rewarding each other for paying attention to a fuller reaity, one that includes loss and suffering and death.

  • Discern between pity and empathy in your personal life and when interacting with others.

  • Your attitude; how you treat others and yourself; where you give your time; don't paint over your own limitations or vulnerabilities.

Looking for More?

I get a lot of notes from people looking for ways to get involved with palliative care to hospice. For the clinical work, there are the allied health professions - medicine, nursing, social work, chaplaincy, physical or occupational or speech therapy, counseling and psychotherapy, direct-care work (eg, home health aide, nursing assistant, personal care attendant). There is volunteerism.  There is healthcare administration and research and education. For folks outside of healthcare, there are also ways to participate indirectly by bringing these principles to your existing work, since this is a spirit of care as well as a profession.

Read Palliative Care Related Q&A Here

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  • BJ Miller

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