On October 11th, 2017, JMSA and Nippon Club held its 41st Lecture Seminar on advance care planning by Dr. Shunichi Nakagawa. The seminar was very well attended by young and old members of the Japanese community. Dr. Shunichi Nakagawa, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Adult Palliative Care, Columbia University gave a very compelling talk about advance care planning (ACP) which is the planning for future medical care to so that one can make his or her own decisions and the importance of the conversation and communication between physicians, patients and their loved ones so all are on the same page. Before the lecture, many people may have thought that is too depressing or scary to think about end of life and dying. After the talk we all learned that its much scarier to not engage in advance care planning. Dr. Nakagawa told the audience “It’s never too early to start….”
He educated the audience about the meaning of advance care planning, health care proxy and advanced directives.
He presented very interested scenarios that helped the audience understand the importance of ACP and how its is very important to have a conversation with the doctor and family so all understand the patient’s wishes. He explained that ACP or advance care planning is a process with steps and that it should always be updated and amended to reflect the patients feelings and wishes and to include what is ultimately the patients priorities in life keep on living.
Dr. Nakagawa explained that too often, people wait until its too late to start this vital conversation about ACP. The earlier the conversations are initiated, the easier they are because the best time to start the conversation about advance care planning is when the patient is still healthy.
He presented the audience with several very important links that will help the patient to start to prepare his or her advance care plans. Many of these sites will take the patients through each step that is necessary in order to determine advance care plans.
1. One Slide Project (http://engagewithgrace.org)
2. The Conversation Project (http://the conversationproject.org)
3. PREPARE (http://www.prepareforyourcare.org/#/)
4. Five Wishes (http://www.agingwithdignitiy.org)
5. NY state health care proxy (https://www.health.ny.gov/publications/1430.pdf)
JMSA thanks Dr. Shunichi Nakagawa for his time and energy in presenting us with information that all patients should know about in order to direct their end of life management.
Written by Maki Kano, MD.