4:30 - 4:50 pmSaturday, September 17
Plenary Hall
The problem with dying and what might we do about it
Plenary Hall
The problem with dying and what might we do about it
Zen Hospice Project
Discussion about the value of human-centered healthcare – through to the end-of-life experience – is gaining critical momentum across America. From peace of mind to personal and institutional cost... Read more

Description

Discussion about the value of human-centered healthcare – through to the end-of-life experience – is gaining critical momentum across America. From peace of mind to personal and institutional cost considerations, this expanding dialogue is top of mind for a large part of our population as the Silver Tsunami of Baby Boomers – viewing themselves through the prism of their own parents’ end-of-life decisions (or lack thereof) – begins to age into a system where dissatisfaction pervades the conversation.

Actively engaged in this dialogue by passion, profession – and personal experience, BJ Miller, MD, is Senior Director and Advocate at Zen Hospice Project, San Francisco, and a 2015 TED speaker. Promoting a new paradigm of care, BJ encourages us to consider the possibilities when healthcare and our cultural perspectives allow life to be well lived to the end – both by incorporating the aesthetic realm in ways that both preserve dignity and nurture the senses and through humanistic changes to healthcare systems and policies.

His revelations are founded in personal experience: An electrical shock sustained while a Princeton undergraduate nearly cost him his life. It also endowed him with an extraordinary gift to connect with the patients he sees in his end-of-life and palliative care medical practice.

Miller will focus his talk on three key areas:

  • Describing the promise of palliative care, contextualized within its historical rise and current role in healthcare, by naming suffering and quality of life as the center of the field. Its role is revolutionary and begs the inclusion of other non-medical fields and disciplines.
  • Calling out healthcare system failures and offering up design prompts for creating a new system.
  • Framing the makings of a civic model for end-of-life care – that aging and dying well should become points of pride for civil society and be routinized as such within any community daring to take this on.

Many of Miller’s convictions come to life at Zen Hospice Project in San Francisco, a secular residential hospice that acts as the most complete realization of the organization’s core beliefs, delivering patient-centered mindful care in a space that allows for physical and spiritual dignity. The “Guest House,” where the residents are cared for, has evolved into an incubator of innovation in caregiving. Miller and his team gain insight by doing, perpetually contributing to the development of a unique model of care grounded in actual work.

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