“I Had a Dream”

by Tim Gieseke MD, CMD

Do you have a dream?  In 2007, I first became aware of an effort in California to bring the Oregon POLST Form to California.  By that time in my career, I had experienced not only the lack of palliative care in the death of my father, but I had also seen many patients and families suffer from the rampant assumption that everybody wants and benefits from aggressive medical interventions when they get sick.  At that time, I looked at the UCLA Leadership and Management course at UCLA and dreamed about implementing the POLST in Sonoma County. I attended the course in the Spring of 2008 and hit the ground running.  At the course, I further modified the project and made a crucial decision. I decided to have my mentor be Cheryl Osborne, a Professor of Nursing at Sacramento State University, rather than a physician.  She was so helpful in thinking strategically about developing a local network of key people to engage and educate the community.  I was fortunate to pair up with Susan Keller, a local community activist.  She applied for an implementation grant and together, we put together (with strong support from the Coalition for Compassionate Care of Calif) an educational curriculum for nursing homes, assisted living, and our local faith community.  This dream is still advancing today and is having an impact on care in Sonoma County and our State.

Do you have a dream?  At CALTCM, we hope you do.  We have now assumed ownership of this valuable course.  Time is running out.  Please let us help you implement your dream while advancing your leadership and management skills.