This week, Lake Effect producer Stephanie Lecci is exploring issues surrounding death and dying in the 21st century. Indeed, the questions surrounding end-of-life care today are much different from the way they were in the past. Technology is allowing us to live longer with more disease, and to sustain life even when we are no longer able to communicate our wishes.
As we heard yesterday, that can put a lot of stress on caregivers making proxy decisions. But how did we get here? And what do we have to consider when we try to lay out our wishes ahead of time?
This week on Lake Effect, producer Stephanie Lecci is exploring issues surrounding death and dying in our culture. One of those issues is what it's like to care for someone who is in the final stages of his or her life. As difficult as it may be to make our own decisions regarding our own dying process, it is even more difficult to make those decisions on behalf of a loved one. Complicating this is a condition known as "caregiver syndrome," the manifestation of the physical and emotional stress of long-term care of a loved one. This can affect a proxy's ability to make sound decisions about end-of-life care.
One of the biggest financial burdens individuals and businesses face is the rising cost of health care. In order to ease that weight, some people and employers have been turning to High Deductible Health Care Plans. They keep monthly premiums low by requiring patients to spend a significant amount of money before their insurance kicks-in. As WUWM’s LaToya Dennis reports, those high deductible plans can pay off, but are a gamble.
Many of us are rightfully concerned about the safety of what we eat and what might be added to foods along the processing chain from farm to table. But Lake Effect essayist Judy Steininger says a knowing a little basic chemistry might help ease some of our concerns.
Wisconsin recently reported a sharp increase in new HIV infections. They rose nearly 20 percent from 2010 to 2011, with the most new cases in Milwaukee County. While the numbers are alarming and the population sometimes difficult to reach, those who connect early with the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin are in good hands. As WUWM’s Erin Toner reports, it has become a one-stop-shop for the many services patients may need and is considered a national model.
Back in February, Lake Effect celebrated Primate week with a series of stories and features about our close cousins. One of those features considered the technological prowess of primates – and we’re not talking just humans. There was Albert II, the first rhesus monkey in space. Or the orangutans at the Milwaukee County Zoo, who, like their human counterparts, really enjoy iPads. It may not be what Steve Jobs had in mind, but it turns out that iPads have some practical uses at a zoo.
Monday, we reported on a one-year-old clinic in West Allis treating a growing number of veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Some say they’re seeking outside therapy because they’re dissatisfied with their VA health care. This morning, WUWM’s Erin Toner revisits the clinic to report on another free service it provides – mental health services for the families of veterans. Family members don’t qualify for care at VA hospitals.
An alarming number of suicides among American soldiers has/have been pressuring the VA to improve mental health services for veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. As a result, the U.S. Veterans Affairs Department plans to add nearly 2,000 employees to reduce wait times for appointments. In Milwaukee, a growing number of vets dissatisfied with the VA have been supplementing their government care with therapy at an outside clinic. As WUWM’s Erin Toner reports, it offers a less structured approach.
Technology has transformed health care in recent times – supplying everything from sophisticated imaging machines to electronic medical records. When it comes to communications, though, the medical field continues to rely on a device many might consider archaic – the pager. But doctors may soon ditch their trusty old beepers, at least at one Milwaukee-area hospital. As WUWM’s Erin Toner reports, it’s testing a new system in hopes of improving patient care.