Advance Care Planning Workshops help families to better understand future health care choices

WOODRUFF, WI—Medical Care is one of the most important choices facing you now and in the future. Medical technology greatly influences healthcare today, and people with chronic diseases are able to live longer. It has become more important than ever before to express your feelings regarding the types of medical treatments you would want.

Eagle River Memorial Hospital (ERMH) and Howard Young Medical Center (HYMC), both part of Howard Young Health Care (HYHC), work with the community through Advance Care Planning Workshops to help you understand how your personal beliefs affect your health care choices, the type of end of life treatments you may face, what makes a good health care “agent,” and the most up-to-date information on drafting these legal documents. A video is provided for group discussion and there is assistance in understanding and completing advance directive health care forms.

“Having a basic understanding of how and when you could end up in a situation where you could not speak for yourself is key. Some people may think they are too young to start this process, but snowmobile and car accidents know no age. Talking to family and friends, religious advisors, and our health care providers now will ensure you are best taken care of in the event of an emergency,” said Lisa Becker, ERMH Social Worker.

Advance Care Planning Workshops are held at ERMH on the first and third Friday of each month at 10:30 a.m. and at HYMC the second Thursday of each month at 10 a.m. The workshops are free and open to the public.

“It is important to have these documents completed, after age 18, in the event that you are unable to make health care choices for yourself. Your wishes would be documented, so there would be no question on what you wanted,” said Patti Zaremba, RN, HYMC. “Start a conversation today about what you would want if you were in this situation, and when you are ready, attend one of our Advance Health Care Planning Workshops.”

April 16, 2009, is National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD).This initiative, now in its second year, is a collaborative effort of national, state and community organizations committed to ensuring that all adults with decision-making capacity in the United States have the information and opportunity to communicate and document their healthcare decisions. The objectives of NHDD are to provide much needed information to the public, reduce the number of tragedies that occur when a person’s wishes are unknown, and improve the ability of healthcare facilities and providers to offer informed and thoughtful guidance about advance healthcare planning to their patients.

For more information, call ERMH at 715-479-0286 or HYMC at 715-356-8877.

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