By Susan Nelson, MD
LaPOST Coalition Chair
Last November, the Louisiana Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment (LaPOST) program had the opportunity to collaborate with Our Lady of the Lake College (OLOL College) in Baton Rouge for a unique service-learning partnership. Students from OLOL College’s Health Service Administration – Health Care Marketing class were tasked with developing a social media campaign that would generate awareness and education, specifically among young adults, about LaPOST and the importance of advance care planning. One of the centerpieces of the campaign was a unifying hashtag that participants could use to show their support for the cause, and thus, #HonorMyWishes was born.
With every image that was posted, liked, shared or tweeted, our message expanded to new audiences, potentially inspiring people of various ages to begin contemplating their medical treatment preferences. Therein lies the beauty of social media; familiarity is not essential for impact. The only requirement is a message capable of resonating with the receiver. #HonorMyWishes is a rallying cry for patients, family members and others who believe in the power of the patient’s voice and support the importance of that voice being heard.
In honor of National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD), observed annually on April 16, LaPOST is reviving the #HonorMyWishes campaign to encourage people to have discussions with their loved ones and physicians about the kinds of medical treatment they would/would not want to receive if they could no longer speak for themselves. The goal is to prompt conversations about the advance care planning options available to them and to help remove the stigma associated with end-of-life care.
So, how can you get involved?
We’re asking you to take photos displaying a sign that describes what advance care planning means to you and/or why it should matter to others. Upload the images to the LaPOST Facebook page or tag us on Twitter @LouisianaPOLST, and be sure to include the hashtag #HonorMyWishes.
What began as a marketing concept for a college course project has the potential to evolve into a social movement driven by those who value the patient’s right to make their treatment wishes known, and those who take a proactive approach to managing their health care. The LaPOST Coalition invites everyone to take part in our push to drive the conversation on advance care planning, one image at a time.
For more information on advance care planning options in Louisiana, visit la-post.org.