ER Physician Proposes Alternative Approach to Care

“Strategic Aging” concept gaining attention

With over 40 percent of Americans living with one or more incurable chronic diseases, quality of life has lost emphasis in the name of treatment.

While many of these diseases are not necessarily fatal, they are life-limiting. Early palliative care reduces unnecessary hospital admissions and the use of health services and provides compassion to those with chronic illness.

Kevin Haselhorst, MD, is a proponent of quality of life over length of life. As such, he coaches patients and their families accordingly:

  • prioritize quality of life,
  • managing chronic illness; and
  • appreciate palliative care.

“Patients like options, but they never wish to feel wrong about going against medical advice,” Dr. Haselhorst told ADVANCE. “In particular, a chronically-ill patient in the emergency department often prefers to return home, but few physicians and family caregivers support this high-risk decision. Without giving patients the ability to say, “I receive palliative care,” the duty to treat overrides the choice of compassion. Strategic aging supports the courageous path forward for patients in no-win situations.”

Dr. Haselhorst is on a mission to teach physicians an alternate team approach to address the needs of patients and their families. He has information and advice on how this translates to real life.

“The purpose of your advance care plan is to avoid the emergency department at all costs and the personal benefit of strategic aging comes from your willingness, ability and readiness to end life peacefully,” Dr. Haselhorst concluded.

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