Mark Dimor founded The BioContinuum Group in 1993 after 15 years in healthcare advertising, communications, and medical education. Mark works to identify practical strategies for changing patient and practitioner behavior and improving patient care, and to implement those strategies using education and social media. In addition, he was his wife's primary caregiver as she fought cancer for three years and ultimately passed away. Which is to say, he understands the issues that Everplans is addressing both professionally and personally.
Yesterday on his blog, Mark wrote an incredibly flattering piece about Everplans. In the piece, he discusses Everplans' role, as he sees it, in opening the channels for conversation around tough end-of-life issues and supporting patients, caregivers, and families as they navigate these complicated areas. We're re-publishing the piece here today. Visit The BioContinuum Group's blog for more information and opinions on these topics, and follow Mark on Twitter @MarksPhone.
Those who follow me know my areas of interest. They revolve around a somewhat narrow constellation of topics. One area is adult learning and how it works to drive an educational strategy for patients and HCP (healthcare providers). Another area is social media and how we must think goals and strategy when we want to apply social media to solve a communications, education, marketing, or brand problem. Finally there is the topic of hospice and palliative medicine (HPM) and how important that service is for both patient and caregiver.
One organization that’s also looking at the practical aspects of HPM and EOL is a company I was recently introduced to called Everplans. Everplans is a website that addresses, in a new and practical way, the topics of end-of-life and death. (Yup: yet another bummer post by me.) But I must say that after having faced these issues with Donna’s passing 18 months ago, and now in the middle of organizing my own life, this website comes as a welcome resource. Dare I say a bit of light for my darkness?
The site is broken down into categories that apply to all of us: Long Before Death, Eldercare & End-of-Life, After a Death, and Be There for Someone. These buckets are further broken down into key components or steps. These steps are presented simply, clearly with articles and tools, links and explanations, designed to educate and take action. The site is a one-stop resource for anyone interested in planning or learning: those in their 20s and 30s, and those facing the passing of a loved one, post death realities, and what to do and how to do it when a friend or family member dies. I know that for me, I winged the practical considerations at Donna’s death and stumbled along the way—largely I was on autopilot and just pushed through those first few weeks. Everplans could have served as my checklist and backstop resource. It may have even helped me face the grief of doing this alone.
More than ease of use, this site and the practical steps it presents are part and parcel of my larger reference point: HPM gives so much to the patient and caregiver. HPM is about treating the entire patient clinically, emotionally, and spiritually, while considering the same gestalt of the family. This is especially critical during the end of life and after the death of a loved one. I believe when we bring the services Everplans offers into caregiving, when these issues and tools are part of a family discussion, it opens emotional receptors within us that connect us to our loved one. It not only takes the worry and struggle with these topics off the table; it opens the conversation to include topics we may not want to address. And in addressing these issues openly we free ourselves and our loved ones from struggling with them, especially when they are least able to. Everplans is part of HPM, part of how to better live our lives.
In my opinion HCP and HPM providers should be pointing patients and families to Everplans (or sites similar) in order to guide patients through their options and to ensure critical paperwork is completed and put into the electronic medical records. Eliminating a potentially emotional and difficult task will aid the continuity of care and the well being of the patient, the caregiver, and family.