Everyone needs advance directives, says Hospice of Montezuma marketing director Michelle Cameron.
That term refers to a written statement of one’s health care treatment wishes, designed to have those wishes carried out should one be unable to communicate with a doctor. An advance directives statement, sometimes called an advanced care plan, often includes a person’s living will and is composed with a physician based on one’s personal health care needs, Cameron said.
It’s never too early to set up advance directives, Cameron said. Family members or friends will know what your wishes are through your advance directives should a crisis situation arise when you can’t speak for yourself, she said.
“It’s a gift you’re giving your family so they don’t have to agonize over a decision,” Cameron said. “They know what you want.”
Several speakers will talk advance directives and other aspects of health care as Hospice of Montezuma’s celebrates National Health Care Decisions Day on April 23. The event takes place at Cortez Conference Center at Destination Grill starting at 8 a.m. It’s free and open to the public, but limited spots are available, and an RSVP is requested by April 15.
Physician Lynn Naumann will speak on the medical aspects of advance directives, and attorney Keenan Lovett will discuss legal aspects. Other speakers will discuss health care issues including finances, communication and funeral planning at the event.
Cameron said it’s a very important event.
“Every individual matters and has a need for this information,” she said. “I hope people in the community will understand how valuable this is. ... I hope people walk away from this with knowledge and a willingness to have a conversation with their families.”
Though Hospice of Montezuma assists clients with their end-of-life arrangements, Cameron said the agency provides much more than that.
The service employs a “team approach,” working with doctors, nurses, home health aids, social workers, chaplains and volunteers to assist with clients’ health care, she said.
The hospice care industry nationwide is trending toward providing and caring for not only the client, but also the families of those clients. Hospice of Montezuma provides support groups for caregivers and families, as well as a bereavement program, which is accessible to anyone with a need, Cameron said.
For clients, the service offers standard medical care, as well as different types of care such as music and massage therapy, Cameron said.
It’s important for people to make health care decisions for themselves ahead of time, so they can plan out how they want to live their lives, she said.
“We’re breaking barriers to make this a more general, accepted conversation,” Cameron said. “The more people in the community who talk about it, the more people will have these talks. If more people generalize it, it will become more common.”