Let Us Take The Stress Out of Moving!

Start enjoying all the amenities of our warm,  inviting Assisted Living community, without the stress of moving! Stein Assisted Living is now offering a beautiful, newly furnished, one bedroom apartment. Ease Right In!

  • Spacious, private apartment
  • Delicious Kosher meals
  • Jewish values & traditions
  • Nurses on premises 24/7
  • Stimulating recreational and social activities
  • Housekeeping services
  • Beauty salon
  • Transportation
    and much more!

Only one furnished apartment available.

Come see us – You’ll love us!

Contact Stein Assisted Living today at 732-568-1155 or info@wilfcampus.org.

Ten Important Questions About Advance Health Care Directives

April 16 is National Healthcare Decisions Day. Have you created health care directives? If you haven’t, or you aren’t sure your documents are up to date, here some questions you might have.

Why should people express their wishes about health care? Isn’t that for their doctor to decide?

Today’s health care technologies are pretty amazing. They can keep us alive even if we are suffering from a serious illness. People have different ideas about the treatments they would want to have. If they are able to state their wishes, they can say yes or no to questions like these:

  • Would you want CPR or other resuscitation if your heart were to stop beating?
  • Would you want to be put on a ventilator if you could no longer breathe on your own?
  • Would you wish to have tube or needle feeding if you lost the ability to swallow?
  • If you had a life-limiting illness, would you wish to receive antibiotics that might prolong life?
  • If you had progressive dementia, what health treatments would you want?
  • Would you want to be an organ donor?
  • At what point would you want hospice and palliative care (care that focuses on pain control and quality of life) rather than aggressive treatment?

We like to think that we will always be capable of making these kinds of health care decisions. Sometimes, however, it doesn’t work like that. A stroke, an automobile accident, Alzheimer’s disease—any number of circumstances might limit or take away our immediate ability to make these decisions. The Gerontological Society of America reports that nearly one in four older Americans today receives “excessive or unwanted medical treatment” because they had not earlier made their wishes known.

Creating advance directives makes it more likely that our wishes would be met, even if we could not speak for ourselves.

What are advance directives?

These are documents that include statements about:

  • What you would want. A health care directive or living will is a document that says what kinds of care—including the life-sustaining measures mentioned above—you would or would not want if you were nearing the end of your life. In some states, you can also create a document that would make it less likely that first responders would perform CPR or other procedures on you if you don’t want it. This is called a Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST).
  • Who you would want to speak for you. A durable power of attorney for health care, medical power of attorney or health care proxy is a document saying who you would like to make health care decisions for you, if a time were to come when you couldn’t speak for yourself.

Who should I choose to serve as my health care proxy/durable power of attorney for health care?

This person would most likely be a relative or close friend. Think about the person you would most trust to make those decisions for you if you weren’t able to do so. That is the person you should appoint as your health care representative. If for some reason the person who would be your first choice were not available to act for you, who would be your second choice? Most forms designating a health care representative allow you to name an alternate.

What should I tell my health care representative?

If you wish to name an individual as your health care representative, ask the person if he or she is willing to take on that responsibility. If the person agrees, then you should sit down with him or her and have a frank, detailed conversation about your feelings and values concerning health care and the kinds of treatment you would or would not want. Along with this conversation, be sure to give your health care representative copies of your health care directive.

Why are these conversations so important?

Yale University researchers recently conducted a study of 349 older patients and their health surrogates. They asked the seniors about what treatment they would prefer if they had a serious illness. Then they asked the health surrogates what they thought the patient would prefer. They found that while the surrogates rated themselves as “extremely confident” that they knew their loved one’s wishes, in fact only 21 percent of their answers matched up with the patient’s!

Even though you’ve stated your wishes in writing, talking about your thoughts with your health care representative and other family members is important. The better understanding those close to you have about your wishes, the more likely it is that you will spend the end of your life in peace and comfort, and that your family will be spared anguishing decisions and conflict during a time that they would rather be focusing on saying goodbye. It is a loving legacy to leave.

Where can I get these forms?

You can ask your doctor for the correct forms to use. Or, visit the National Healthcare Decisions Day website (www.nhdd.org) to find more information about health care planning, and to access free advance directive forms for the state in which you live.

Who should have a copy of my health care directive?

Give a signed and witnessed copy to your primary physician, your health care representative, your hospital, your senior living community, and any other major health care institution or organization with which you are connected. It is also wise to share the information with all family and close friends. Doctors and hospitals report that family members are sometimes surprised by their loved one’s wishes as stated in a living will. Family members may disagree with the patient’s wishes, or among themselves. You can make it easier for everyone by talking openly with your loved ones about what you would want.

What if I don’t know what I want?

Many people hesitate to express their health care wishes because they’re just not sure about what they think! They don’t feel qualified to decide. This is another time when having conversations is a big help. Talk to friends and family. Find out about presentations and discussion groups held at your faith community, senior center, local hospice or senior living community. Consult with a counselor, your spiritual advisor or an aging life care professional.

What if I change my mind?

Your right to complete advance directives includes your right to change your mind. In most states, you may cancel an advance directive any time and in any way that clearly shows your intent—for example, by tearing it up, marking it “revoked,” or telling someone you have changed your mind. It’s always a good idea to review your advance directive from time to time to be sure they reflect your current thinking. If you decide to update, let your representative and doctor know.

Can my doctor talk to me about advance care planning?

Yes! As a matter of fact, Medicare now covers advance care planning. Your doctor can counsel you as you make these decisions, and help you fill out the necessary forms. You can ask your doctor about the prognosis if you have health problems. Best to have these conversations well ahead of time.

The Oscar an Ella Wilf Campus for Senior Living is comprised of Stein Assisted Living, Stein Hospice, Wilentz Senior Residence, Wilf Transport and The Foundation at the Wilf Campus. For more information, call 732-568-1155, email info@wilfcampus.org or visit www.wilfcampus.org.

Finding Light in Dark Days

We are in midst of celebrating Hanukkah. The Jewish custom is to start the holiday by lighting one candle the first night and then to add one additional candle each night until the eighth night, when eight candles will be lit. Originally, the custom of adding one candle a night was debated by the Rabbis during the first centuries of the Common Era. The Babylonian Talmud (Shabbat 21b) describes an argument that occurred between two early Jewish schools of thought, the schools of Shammai and of Hillel, regarding the order of lighting the Hanukkah candles. According to the school of Shammai, the lighting of these candles is done as a countdown, starting from eight candles on the first night until we get to one candle on the last night of the holidays. The school of Hillel disagreed and taught, one candle is lit the first night and then for each night of Hanukkah one candle is added until eight are lit the final night. The school of Hillel reasoned that for matters of ritual, it was appropriate to elevate spiritually, through adding, and not downgrade it by subtracting one candle each night.  The current practice is to follow the School of Hillel’s opinion.

The lights of Hanukkah symbolize hope and positive energy in our lives. By adding a candle each night, we are symbolically adding more positive energy and light into the world. Yet, when we look at a candle, we also see vulnerability. A flame flickers and eventually goes out.  As we continue to add a flame each night, the candles become more vulnerable, as the heat emanating from each new candle causes the candles to melt faster each night. Hence, on the eighth night, when the Hanukkah menorah is shining brightest, it is also burning away the fastest.

In life, we strive to grow spiritually. However, as we become closer to our spirit, we are increasingly vulnerable to periods of darkness. As we gaze upon the lights of the Hanukkah menorah, may we be able to remember the light that shines forth from all of us and be able to focus on continued growth during this holiday season.

Rabbi Bryan Kinzbrunner is campus chaplain of The Oscar an Ella Wilf Campus for Senior Living, which is comprised of Stein Assisted Living and the Jaffa Gate Memory Care Neighborhood, Stein Hospice, Wilentz Senior Residence, Wilf Transport and The Foundation at the Wilf Campus. For more information, call 732-568-1155, email info@wilfcampus.org or visit www.wilfcampus.org.

 

November is Hospice and Palliative Care Month

This past April, following a series of hospitalizations for chronic lung disease, and after consulting with her family and doctors, it was announced that Former First Lady, Barbara Bush decided not to seek additional medical treatment and focus on comfort care. She died peacefully and comfortably, surrounded by her loved ones, on her own terms.

Senator John McCain’s openness in sharing his journey with brain cancer and his final decision to end treatment highlights the importance and value of talking with family members about our final wishes before the end of  life.  He died, surrounded by family, peacefully and comfortably, on his own terms.

The words “no longer receiving medical treatment” are actually incorrect. What both of these memorable, public figures had announced is what the medical profession calls, a change in “Goals of Care.” What it means when a person changes their Goals of Care is that instead of continuing with treatments that can cure and prolong one’s life, they transition to Hospice and Palliative Care that helps alleviate suffering. It is not a discontinuation of medical treatment. It focuses on the actual problem of being terminally ill and of dying even if we wish the problems were different.

As a person ages, or disease progresses, Goals of Care and treatments may change. Hospice care can become the focus of treatment for comfort care. The goals for Hospice and Palliative Care is to improve quality of life for the patient and family.

Advance Care Planning is a lifelong process and should start with a conversation with family or a healthcare provider. It’s important that these wishes be documented with a Goals of Care note, or an Advanced Directive, Fives Wishes or POLST form. By knowing and following a patient’s Goals of Care, healthcare providers care for the patient in a way that is timely, medically appropriate, and meets the patient’s values and wishes. It is also an organized way for care teams to communicate as a patient move between locations of care. Goals of Care are created just for the patient and their situation. They can change if the patient’s situation changes or if the patient would like to change something that they had decided earlier.

Having influential figures like Barbara Bush and John McCain make public their decision to transition to Hospice and Palliative Care continues to drive discussion around the importance of Advance Care Planning. They died with the dignity they were owed. It was not because they discontinued medical care, but because they accepted a kind of medical care that was appropriate for their condition.

Hospice is not about dying, it’s about living, and the Stein Hospice team helps our patients live their lives to their fullest.

To find out more about Stein Hospice, please visit our website at www.wilfcampus.org/hospice/ or call 732-227-1212.

A New Executive Director for Stein Hospice

The Oscar and Ella Wilf Campus for Senior Living welcomes Rev. Yeong J. Bae as the Executive Director of Stein Hospice.

Yeong Bae is a social worker and a Presbyterian minister, and he has been directing hospice programs in Pennsylvania and New Jersey since 2008. Prior to that, he had a long career in child welfare services, overseeing foster care and adoption services in NYC and in Pennsylvania.

His loves are his family, sports, the outdoors and DIY projects. His wife, Wonjae, and his two young boys, William and Harrison, are elated that he has a new job! Yeong is looking forward to spending time with team members: listening, seeking understanding, and building strong relationships with colleagues and friends-to-be. He looks forward to engaging the Board and the Hospice team in visioning for the next chapter of Stein’s bright future. Together, he hopes to lead an expansion of Stein’s services in a variety of ways, including consideration of a second team in another part of the State, launch of a Heart Failure program as a precursor to a Palliative Care Practice, and deepening of Stein’s services in the Jewish tradition of hospitality and compassion.

We welcome Yeong Bae to the Wilf Campus family!