Local health systems host public discussion on end-of-life care

Staff Report

ROCKFORD — Mercyhealth, OSF HealthCare and SwedishAmerican will host Dr. Jessica Zitter for a free community discussion surrounding end-of-life care on Wednesday, Feb. 20 at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Rockford,1601 Parkview Ave.

Dr. Zitter is a critical care physician and national advocate for transforming end-of-life care in America.
She is the author of the book “Extreme Measures; Finding a Better Path to the End of Life” and was also
featured in the Academy and Emmy nominated film “Extremis.”

Titled “A New Kind Of Heroism,” the discussion begins at 5 p.m. and will include a showing of the
powerful documentary short film, which is also currently available on Netflix. There will also be a case
presentation and panel discussion about the importance of planning for life’s end with advance directives.

The event is presented by Project SILO (Significantly Impacting Life Outcomes) and represents a unique
partnership between OSF HealthCare, SwedishAmerican and Mercyhealth. The three health systems
along with Transform Rockford and several community members created Project SILO in 2018. SILO’s
goal is to show the importance of planning for life’s end.

“Nobody wants to talk about the end of life,” said Dr. H. Trent Barnhart, OSF HealthCare; Dr. Juliette
Kalweit, SwedishAmerican; and Dr. Mohammed Ilyas Ahmed Khan, Mercyhealth in a joint statement.
They are all Palliative Care Directors for their respective health systems.

“Talking about the end of life can be uncomfortable, it can be upsetting, and the unknown circumstances
surrounding it make it difficult for anyone to plan. But as the medical directors of palliative medicine at
Rockford’s three major health systems, we feel strongly that end-of-life care is something people should
be talking about. We feel so strongly, in fact, that we have joined forces to bring this to your attention.

“We know that one of the most critical decisions in life is determining not only how you want to live, but
how you want to die. Unfortunately, many people never realize this until it is too late. We hope Rockford
joins us for the discussion on Wednesday so we can start making this something we can all talk about.” R.

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