Featured speaker Wong on ‘what matters most’

Brian Wong

Dr. Brian Wong had three burning questions about caregiving. During his travels around the country, he spoke with more than 5,000 physicians and 25,000 patients in all 50 states. He targeted these three questions:

  1. What matters most?
  2. Who do you trust?
  3. What is a small miracle?

“On the surface, each one seems profound and elusive and almost unknowable,” he said. “But I’ve also come to learn they are clearly answerable in common, universal and very human terms.”

Brian was the featured speaker at Full Life Care’s Benefit Luncheon, held in Seattle October 25, 2018. For nearly 40 years, Brian has worked as a physician, executive, consultant and culture change expert. His book, “Heroes Need Not Apply,” offers caregivers practical tools to develop a patient-accountable culture.

At the luncheon, Brian discussed healing and curing, noting that the two are similar, yet distinctly different; just as a house is not a home or intelligence is not the same as wisdom. Healing represents small miracles, such as showing respect, compassion and empathy – listening to the patient. The cure represents the big miracles, the treatment that modern medicine offers.

He offered an example in his wife’s uncle, Steven Sun. In 2004, Uncle Steve was 94 years old. He was admitted into the hospital with chest pains and congestive heart failure. He had surgery to unblock an artery, which saved his life.

The main thing missing in Uncle Steve’s care: they forgot his teeth. He couldn’t eat, he lost weight, he fell and went back in the hospital. He died shortly afterward.

“Uncle Steve’s healthcare costs were very expensive toward the end of his life,” Brian said. “Yet the simplest thing – what he might have considered the most important thing – didn’t cost us anything and it cost him everything.”

A small miracle – remembering a basic need to help one heal – combined with the cure, the big miracle provided through modern medicine, may have given Uncle Steve a few more years.

Miracles big and small matter, Brian said.

Brian’s research into the question of who do you trust brought together the small and big miracles. Physicians and patients helped him develop a list of qualities we all want and know in a trusted person.

Trusted graphic

Brian’s final prescription is CPR: conversation, presence and restraint. Talk to people, give them your undivided attention, and listen to what they say. In the end, TRUSTED care will result.

“What sets Full Life apart from almost any other healthcare organization I’ve known over the last 40 years is that from top to bottom, they embody, they model, they live, they deliver what it means to be TRUSTED,” Brian said. “This means, they deliver small miracles of healing in every interaction with every participant and family member, every day.”

A tribute to Nora Gibson

Also at the luncheon, Full Life offered a tribute to retiring executive director Nora Gibson. Nora served as Full Life Care’s leader from 1994 until early 2018 before transitioning the executive role to assistant director Dave Budd. Nora began in 1978 as an adult day services clinician, and is one of the region’s earliest visionaries of community-based long-term care for vulnerable adults. During her tenure, Full Life grew to serve more than 3,000 clients and their families every year, while developing new programs for underserved populations, such as persons living with acquired brain injury.

Mike Brandeberry, who served on the Full Life Care board and advisory board for more than 30 years including as board president, offered a wonderful tribute and presented Nora with a painting, Swoon 1, created by artist Frances Smersh. Frances was diagnosed with younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease. She and her husband, John, owns Click Design That Fits, a West Seattle business Nora frequents. In 2016, Nora teamed up with the couple to plan “Rock the House,” a concert to raise awareness about persons with memory loss and their loved ones.

Nearly 400 supporters of Full Life Care’s attended the October 25 benefit luncheon at the Sheraton Seattle Hotel. Enrique Cerna returned as the master of ceremonies. Including the support of our presenting sponsor, The Bedside Trust, and many other sponsors, Full Life Care raised more than $120,000 to continue providing essential services to vulnerable members of our community.

You may donate online to add your support, or mail your check to Attn: Development, 800 Jefferson Street, Suite 620, Seattle, WA 9810.

You may also watch our 2018 video: What Matters Most.

Thank you for your support.

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