By Madeline Rayon
Each person has pieces of their life that bring meaning and value to who they are. Some may find value in their experiences where others find meaning in their roles as a student, friend, or family member. However, how often do we express these aspects in our life that give us meaning? Furthermore, how would we express them if we were suddenly unable to due to illness or an accident? The What Gives Your Life Meaning? (WGYLM) campaign addresses these questions by bringing palliative care to the community with a focus on college students.
Palliative care is an approach to care that ensures comfort and an increased quality of life for people experiencing chronic illness or for those who are in recovery following a temporary illness or an accident. Furthermore, palliative care provides resources to patients and their families to express what they want in a situation in which they can no longer vocalize it themselves. Palliative care integrates various disciplines such as psychology, nursing, and spirituality to assure that patients receive a well-rounded and positive caregiving experience. However, palliative care is not limited to the patient as families receive support and resources while caring for their loved one. Talking with our loved ones, for example, our grandparents, about palliative care can ensure that they receive the care they want and deserve. Moreover, we as family caregivers can serve as stronger advocates knowing their wishes.
Similar to discussing palliative with our families, we must also address palliative care with ourselves. Planning ahead, knowing what kind of care we would want, and expressing these wishes ensures that a positive caregiving experience is attainable for ourselves and for our families. How do we go about expressing these wishes? One way is through an advance directive. An advance directive is a written document outlining a person’s wishes in the case that they are no longer able to communicate them themselves. An advance directive ensures that such wishes are carried out in the event that we cannot express what we would want to a doctor. Thankfully, the WGYLM campaign has organized workshops that inform and guide us on how to approach an advance directive and palliative care. One workshop titled, “My Voice, My Choice: Student Advance Directive Presentation” on Tuesday, April 18 from 12:00 pm to 12:50 pm in ACD 102 provides information for college students about palliative care, the importance of having an advance directive, and an opportunity to ask questions in a safe environment. Furthermore, the information from this workshop can be brought home to help family members develop their own advance directives.
Interested in learning more about palliative care? The WGYLM campaign will be holding various events throughout the month of April covering topics from student advance directives to a resource fair where exhibitors from local agencies that provide palliative care are on-campus and available for you. Below is a schedule of WGYLM events and all are invited to be a part of a wonderful and informative series of events this spring. We hope to see you there!