Much like an actor, I am driven by language and interpretation. However, I do not aspire to be in theatre, on tv or film. Instead, my passion and commitment to language is focussed entirely in the world of health.
As a non-healthcare professional, I am regularly aghast at the assumption – nay, expectation – that we who are untrained and illl-equipped to understand medical jargon are supposed to know, interpret and act on the language of those trained in the field of healthcare.
I use every medium I can to ‘out’ my outrage, and to educate.
With The Health Television System Inc, I pioneered a hospital-based television network dedicated to reassuring patients and their families that they aren’t stupid just because they interpret ‘stool’ as a 3-legged seat; that ‘treat’ has nothing to do with dogs or children. Patients are encouraged to ask questions. But there’s another assumption: patients know what questions to ask. I develop lists of questions.
My mission has been electrified by the digital world: I blog on two websites Ability4Life.com – for adult children caring for aging parents; BestEndings.com about end of life choices, and all those scary and in comprehensible words: co-morbidiities, wound-care, vent, traech.
I ‘YouTube’ about confusing medication instructions: what’s ‘plenty of liquids’ mean to you? I tweet, host tweet-chats, I find and share resources, interview those as passionate as I, and generally make noise about this wherever I can – including commenting on others blogs.
I’ve TEDtalked about my journey, been published in peer-reviewed journals like Society of Participatory Medicine, Journal of Palliative Medicine and the Canadian Medical Association. I’ll be acting as evangelist at MedicineX, Health 2.0 and the Patient Centricity Conference.
The great thing is, all I have to do is share one anecdote, one story, one example and I see the light bulb turn on.
I hope to make a difference. One word at a time.
Follow Kathy Kastner online at Best Endings, Ability4Life, Youtube, Twitter, and LinkedIn
Blogger and Curator
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