WHAT IS A TRANSITION COACH?
A Transition Coach functions as a facilitator to empower the patient to take control of his or her own end-of-life decisions from terminal prognosis to transition and final disposition coaching the patient and caregiver to play an active and informed role in developing and carrying out a personalized end-of-life strategy.
WHAT IS ADVANCE CARE PLANNING?
End-of-life or advance care planning involves making decisions about one’s circumstances and the care we expect when we’re not able to speak or communicate our wishes ourselves, such as in the case of a stroke or heart attack, a sudden accident or near the end of a long life.
In these written documents, we appoint a healthcare representative we trust to carry out our wishes and include directions as to whether we want artificial hydration or feeding, if or how long we’d want to be on life support and what treatments we’d accept, including surgeries, procedures, treatments, blood transfusions, resuscitation– from do everything to do nothing.
It also includes one’s personal decisions your healthcare representative may have to advocate for you concerning how to pay for the health care and what to do after the death, such as organ donation, funeral and burial arrangements, writing our obituary, and many other details that come with wrapping up one’s life on earth.
WHEN SHOULD I CONSULT A TRANSITION COACH?
While there is never a good time to be told there is nothing more medical science can do for a person and no way to predict the course any illness will take, the sooner the patient and the family start talking about a plan and dealing with the what ifs, the less stress on all concerned, and the more peaceful and loving the entire process will be. The family may be at odds with the wishes of the patient or each other, sometimes old hurt feelings stir up arguments, and the Transition Coach will facilitate family discussions to bring about forgiveness and healing.
Even when there is one more clinical trial or one more new drug to try, the Coach will facilitate the family’s involvement in planning for palliative care, organizing caregivers, home health aides, in-home ADA adjustments through various health changes, and finding help from various agencies and services. With the help of the Transition Coach, time spent writing one’s Will and Advance Healthcare Directive, looking into assisted living arrangements and hospice services, thinking about memorial services, deciding on burial or cremation arrangements, discussing DNRs, POLSTs and Death With Dignity options, can replace the worrying and feelings of helplessness and hopelessness about the patient’s medical issues and health concerns during this stressful time.
DOES THE TRANSITION COACH HELP THE CAREGIVERS?
The goal of the Transition Coach is to build a team of caregivers around the patient to support the patient’s journey. The primary caregiver may be the main contact person with the Transition Coach and the second question is always “and how are you doing?”
Caregiver burn-out is inevitable among loving people who want to do everything they can to keep their loved one comfortable, and free from pain and suffering. The Transition Coach will help the primary caregiver come up with a stress management plan that involves the family and all caregivers involved.
WHAT IS THE ROLE OF A TRANSITION COACH?
The role of the Transition Coach is not to be a service broker or care manager, but rather, to provide support, guidance, resources, and spiritual comfort to the patient and caregiver(s) as they explore the workbook Beyond the Veil: Our journey home by Diane Goble. The Transition Coach may facilitate discussions between the patient and caregiver, and other family members to get everyone on the same page with decision-making or help clarify values and mediate belief differences when it comes to changes in health conditions and end of life decisions.