The Gentle Path Plan is a choice that a person can make at the time of enrollment in any healthcare insurance program. It will require that the enrollee name a proxy and a backup in case there comes a time when the enrollee is not able to speak for him or herself.
The Gentle Path Plan also requires the enrollee to answer a few simple questions about quality of life.
The Gentle Path means that when the enrollee is admitted to the hospital/ER/ICU that enrollee receives a palliative care consultation immediately. Today these consultations only happen when a hospitalist, or one of the many specialists engaged on a case, make the request for the palliative care team. In effect, the patient is in the hands of the aggressive care team and the patient and family are not even aware that there are options other than aggressive care.
The palliative care team functions as the old family doctor used to function. The team takes time to understand the person and the family in a wholistic way. This results in patient- and family-centered care rather than doctor- and institution-centered care.
The Gentle Path Plan will require that a POLST be completed when the palliative team is engaged. This is earlier than standard practice today.
Research shows that when a patient and the family receive palliative care consultations, physician and institution evaluations improve, ICU days are cut and the patient often lives longer than those who stay on the do-whatever-it-takes path.
The Gentle Path creates a win-win-win-win. A win for the patient who isn't caught up in endless doctor appointments and trips in the ambulance, a win for the family who can relax and enjoy their loved one, a win for the physicians and hospitals who are now free to focus on true emergency cases that produce clear, positive outcomes, and a win for the payers. No more dying in the ICU and move to comfort care sooner than later is the goal.
The Gentle Path Plan will provide support in the place the patient lives which could be a private home or some kind of assisted living. While these services exist, this is the piece of the care that needs more effort.
Incentivize The Gentle Path Plan by making the premium lower!