April 16 launches the seventh annual National Healthcare Decisions Day, to inspire, educate, and empower the public to make decisions with loved ones about their wishes regarding end-of-life care.
Locally and beyond, there are an increasing number of resources available to help families have the conversation about advance care planning and encourage discussion about personal values and end-of-life care preferences before a medical crisis happens.
Through that conversation, empowerment and comfort replaces guilt and frustration because an individual's end-of-life treatment preferences are known.
As the East Bay community approaches April 16, we encourage you to take advantage of the following events and resources where you can learn more about the conversation:
Alameda County Hospice Project. On April 16, a coalition of hospice agencies, sponsored by the Alameda County Health Care Services Agency, is sponsoring a Health Wishes Documentation Expo offering assistance from professionals regarding advanced health care planning. Participants may complete an Advanced Health Care Directive with free notary or witnesses for the first 100 Alameda County residents. There will be information about Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment, elder law attorneys, estate planners and elder care related organizations. 1-5 p.m. at the Henry J. Kaiser Center in Oakland. Register by email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Eat Cake, Drink Tea & Discuss Death. Join an informal conversation about advance care planning and death from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. April 16 at Suju's Coffee & Tea 3602 Thornton Ave., Fremont. Call 510-667-7415 or email email@example.com.
The Conversation Project. A national organization co-founded by columnist Ellen Goodman, The Conversation Project, offers a free downloadable kit to help families and individuals think through, communicate and document their treatment preferences at www.conversationproject.org.
Coalition for Compassionate Care of California. Get guidance on advance care planning, including information on advance care directives and Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment, a medical order documenting a patient's treatment preferences at www.coalitionccc.org. For information on POLST, go to www.capolst.org.
Alameda-Contra Costa POLST Coalition. A local coalition of health care professionals, agencies and health care advocates promoting POLST to ensure patient's wishes are honored. For a local POLST presentation, contact the Alameda-Contra Costa Medical Association at 510- 654-5383 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contra Costa Conversation Project. A community coalition dedicated to normalizing the conversation, Contra Costa Conversation Project is planning a program for May 30. For information about the Coalition or the event, call the ACCMA at 510-654-5383 or email email@example.com.
Linda Best is chair of the Contra Costa Conversation Project. David English, MD, is chair of Alameda-Contra Costa POLST Coalition. Mary Lee Gates, NP, MS, is outreach coordinator of Alameda-Contra Costa POLST Coalition.