Vital Decisions Featured on NPR’s The Pulse: Living Well with an Advanced Illness is Possible

Vital Decisions, a health care counseling organization, providing counseling services to advanced illness patients near end-of-life, through healthcare providers is featured on National Public Radio’s, The Pulse.

Operator? N.J. Business, Insurers Take on End-of-life Discussions With Patients By Phone, is an inside look at Vital Decisions Living Well Program. Through this telephonic program, effective communication is achieved by utilizing a behavior change based counseling approach. Vital Decisions advanced degree behaviorists, with specific experience in behavioral change counseling, improve the strained or sometimes non-existent communication and decision-making processes between patient, physician and family members. By empowering patients and families, they become active in decision making and communicating their end-of-life wishes.

“The accepted norm in terms of the role of the individual who’s going through this advanced illness experience is to be passive and be along for the ride, not to take charge, not to take control and ask for help,” says CEO Mitchell Daitz. “So when you’re faced with a set of choices, that none of which represent a really good choice, you become ambivalent. So you don’t choose and you’re along for the ride, and that’s when the trouble starts.”

Vital Decisions Living Well Program assists terminally ill patients to overcome behavioral barriers – fear, anxiety and denial, in order to identify and communicate their quality of life priorities to family and physicians. In most cases, patients prefer decreased medical treatment and increased palliative care.

The decision to pursue palliative care instead of aggressive treatment has the added benefit of bending the healthcare cost curve. The average savings per person choosing palliative care earlier in the disease trajectory is approximately $10,000 during the last months of life.

“That’s $100 million in savings to the health care delivery system for just the patients we’re working with in 2014,” says Daitz. “So as a byproduct of this process, the entity responsible for paying for the care also receives some benefit.”

Currently, Vital Decisions is the only organization in the marketplace utilizing advanced degree behaviorists through telephonic counseling sessions focused on improving communication between patient, physician and family in order to meet patients’ wishes at end-of-life.

Listen to the interview:

About The Pulse on NPR

Heard weekly on WHYY, The Pulse features in-depth reports on stories at the heart of health, science and innovation. The Pulse tells these stories from ground level, where issues hit home with patients, providers, researchers and families.  Join the Pulse team every Friday at 9 a.m. and Sunday at 10 a.m. (rebroadcast) on WHYY-FM and online.

About Vital Decisions

Headquartered in Edison, NJ, Vital Decisions specializes in facilitating more effective Personal Advanced Illness Decision Making by working closely with individuals and families to ensure each patient’s priorities and values are understood and honored. The company’s program integrates technology and interpersonal interventions across diverse populations, resulting in a more collaborative decision-making process that better reflects individual preferences, fewer unwanted treatments, and significantly reduced costs.

For more information contact: 

Vital Decisions Public Relations