"When one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language."--John Donne
We have defined our terms as follows:
a. Palliative care is defined as care for patients whose diagnosis is of having less than a year to live.
b. Palliative care can include curative treatment. It does include counseling, specifically with a social worker, chaplain, and family, and deals with end-of-life choices along with medical care choices and other types of support.
c. Hospice care is defined as care for patients whose diagnosis is having fewer than six months to live. It does not include curative treatment, which will have stopped at this point.
d. For both kinds of care, the comfort of the patient and quality of life are the priorities.
e. Comfort can mean comfort to a family as well, which then comes back to patient. Comfort, in this sense, can be non-linear, not moving necessarily from a to b.
f. One new idea has been to call a unit a "patient and family care unit."
"What I aspired to be/And was not, comforts me."--Robert Browning
We further recognize the following partnership variables:
Mayo Palliative Care Unit variables:
a. This is a pilot program for the Unit.
b. We will need to apply an individual by individual approach in palliative care, as patients are often confined to beds.
c. Some patients are not conscious, but have family.
d. Often, the stay is not very long.
e. This may have to be a more oral kind of project, rather than having a patient physically writing things down. About 50% of patients would be capable of still writing in this manner.
f. In the rehabilitation area, patients are working with a Tree of Life project. Our project could be part of this effort, but would need to do something different as well. In the Tree of Life project, patients create posters about important parts of their life. Visitors--including medical staff--can get a quick sense of the patient by looking this over.
g. Mayo is currently running a music program, defined as giving comfort.
Creative Writing Program variables:
a. This is a pilot program for the Creative Writing Program. We will be creating our first "Community Teaching Assistant," taking the idea that the community is the fourth wall of the classroom and rethinking the pedagogy of teaching in this new century.
b. Creative Writer will need to drive to site.
c. Writer will need time to digest, edit as appropriate, and prepare presentation.
d. Writer will need some training and preparation for this project.
e. Writer will need writing faculty mentor and medical professional mentor.
f. The Creative Writing Program has successfully worked on related projects with Alzheimer patients in locked Alzheimer units around the Phoenix metropolitan area.