Language Matters.
And misuse of language and misperception is a Major threat to us.
What was the misperception:
We are death panels and rationing

and it was in the eyes of Professionals(our colleagues, the public, AND Policy Makers
One implication of this: a grant was all but funded, had to be vetted in a Politicos office due to the source: the result, No $ because Palliative Care (PC) in the title
How big an issue is this: Diane Meier couldn’t get an interview for one committee because in the words of the staff office “Palliative Care is radioactive!”
we have a huge branding problem

What language led to this debacle: from the original “death Panel” bill
Section e. “an explanation by the practitioner of the continuum of end-of-life services and supports available.”

The result, former NY Lt Gov. Betsy McCaughey found the gotcha sound bite. “congress makes it mandatory to have counseling session that will tell them how to end life sooner, how to decline nutrition”
and ultimately Sarah Palin’s response on FACEBOOK “ my Down’s syndrome baby will have to stand in front of Obama’s “death panel”8/7/09
Language is really important.

Everything is about “OPTICS” . How does it look. We as PC were bad optics because we have not been trained about how we communicate. Papers that talk about EOL care, or terminal became “radioactive.”
The ultimate impact: adv care planning, nih funding, quality measures, hospital accreditation , gme funding for fellowship loan forgiveness all removed from HC reform bills due to slippery language.

We must communicate who we are and what we do to pt and family.

Diane emphasizes:
our Language needs to focus on the needs of audience.
What is it we fundamentally do: we match treatment to patient goals.
EOL misrepresents the purpose of pc. we match treatment to patient goals.
If we want to help pts and families who need us, we cannot force them to 1st agree they are dying.
we match treatment to patient goals.

(Hmm, she made that point 3 times in Bold, I guess it’s important!)

Paul Tatum