National Healthcare Decisions Day event draws crowd

2012 May 2
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Lisa Krieger, SJ Mercury News reporter, and Dr. Jerina Kapoor, chair of Pallium India-USA

Pallium India-USA has a mission to help community members to learn about advance healthcare planning. What better opportunity to educate and spread the word than National Healthcare Decisions Day, a national effort to make early planning a part of the national conversation?

On Apr 22, 2012, the organization, which is the USA arm of Pallium India, gave a presentation at the India Community Center in Milpitas, California. The event drew over 100 attendees, and featured experts in the healthcare field as well as journalist Lisa Krieger, who has done a great deal to make healthcare decisions a talked about topic.

Dr. Jerina Kapoor, Founder and President of Pallium India-USA spoke to the large and involved audience about the crucial work that is being done in India to bring palliative care to all those who need it there. The local goals of the organization, said Dr. Kapoor, are to spread awareness of Advance Healthcare Directives, and to work towards culturally sensitive hospice volunteerships to serve the community of Indians living in the USA.

After showing a powerful video clip, Dr. Kapoor spoke about the importance of putting down on paper a well thought out Advance Healthcare Directive (AHCD). This helps avoid burdening one’s family with having to make decisions in crisis.

“The greatest gift you can give to your children is an Advance Healthcare Directive,” she said. “The time to take care of this is now when we are well and thinking clearly.”

Lisa Krieger from the San Jose Mercury News spoke to the audience about her personal experience of her father’s recent suffering and death. She stressed that when a family member is seriously ill, things happen so fast and stress is so great that one has lost the opportunity to have an AHCD. Krieger wrote an article about this which led to a series, “The Cost of Dying.” (See our post on the Mercury News coverage.)

Other speakers at the event included Dr. Raji Ayyar, an oncologist. Dr. Ayyar spoke about how one can do AHCD planning along with living and exercising well. In addition, Dr. Sulochana Lulla introduced the audience to hospice and palliative care, while Zarina Kaji, a registered nurse spoke about the Pallium India-USA hospice program.

Many Pallium India-USA members have received high quality training in this field and are available to provide culturally sensitive care as part of local hospice teams.

As a final high note for the event, the organization took part in the annual Sevathon torch lighting ceremony. As part of this ceremony the India Community Center passed the torch to Pallium India-USA. The Sevathon event itself will take place July 15 at Baylands Park, Sunnyvale, California, USA.

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