International Women’s Day

I am excited to let you know that I am speaking at Evanston’s local celebration of International Women’s Day.  I’ve been waiting for an opportunity like this for a long time, a dream come true.

The Empowering Women’s Conference & Expo will take place March 7th from 8:00 am – 6:00 pm.  Women will learn how to enhance our professional and personal outlook in life, career, motherhood (parenting), caregiving, love, wellness and more.  Attendees will also receive tips, tools and resources on how to enhance and balance our lives.  This year’s theme is Balance for Better, as in better balance in the boardroom, government, media coverage, wealth, sports…basically everywhere!

Registration information can be found here: http://evanstonwbc.org/womens-conference-%26-expo

My topic is “You’re in Charge, Marge! Who’s Making the Medical Decisions?”.  According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the responsibility of making healthcare decisions falls mainly on women.  When describing health, women include emotional and spiritual well-being in our definition, encompassing health holistically, not merely being free of illness.

Shared decision-making, between a patient and our healthcare provider, requires us to build a trusted relationship. It’s no longer a paternalistic relationship where you are told what will happen, when it will happen and how it will happen without our input.

The ideal scenario for shared decision-making, after learning about the medical plan, alternatives, benefits and risks, is aligning our values with our providers healthcare goals. We both need to be on the same page, the same “team” with a shared vision of what health or cure or quality of life truly means.

Decision aids are available to help us learn about health conditions and choices. The more we know, the more likely we are to participate. This is empowerment.

As women, we are asked to be the caregiver or drop everything when there is a serious medical issue with a family member or close friend.  We may have to make decisions that we aren’t prepared to make, gulp!  In terms of being a spokesperson for a family member, it is important to have a prepared document called a Power of Attorney for Healthcare.

The decision to be someone’s spokesperson comes with a list of responsibilities that you should know before agreeing.   We can talk about what those responsibilities are and you will learn how to speak for someone when you are needed.   This is what I do, offer a unique way of looking at things and getting it in writing so that you can confidently be a shared decision maker when the time comes.

“There is no tool for development more effective than the empowerment of women.” – Kofi Annan

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