It is a difficult question individuals often consider in private to themselves, but perhaps just as often avoid discussing with loved ones.
That’s why Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center/Mishawaka is hosting free community forums on Tuesday, November 9 about advance directives and planning for end-of-life care. The seminars will be held in the hospital’s Education Center at 12:00 PM and again at 6:00 PM (repeat session). Those wishing to attend are encouraged to take advantage of SJRMC’s free valet parking service at the hospital’s main entrance on the east side of the building.
“In health care institutions across the country, it is estimated that 80-90% of people coming into the ER or for a planned hospital stay DO NOT have Advance Directives indicating what type of care they do or do not want should they be unable to direct such care,” said Sister Laureen Painter, SJRMC’s Vice President of Mission Integration. “In many cases, family members and health care providers have little to no idea what the individual would want and thus confusion and disagreement may result. It is best for all concerned if Advance Directives are completed at a time when imminent or sudden illness/injury are not being experienced and a person has time to think about his/her wishes and discuss them with family, friends, and care providers. Once such decisions are made, completing the Advance Directive forms is important and sharing them with loved ones critical.”
Advance directives are legal documents that you prepare while you are medically and mentally capable and are intended to direct your medical care if you become unable to do so in the future.
Advance directives provide a way for you to communicate your wishes to family, friends and health care professionals, and to avoid confusion later on. Advance directives can ONLY be used if you are unable to speak for yourself.
Father James Foster, MD, CSC, the Ethics Consultant for Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center, is the Director of the Center for Health Sciences Advising at the University of Notre Dame. Father Foster currently teaches Introduction to Clinical Ethics for undergraduate pre-med students.
Richard Korman, Esq. is the General Counsel for Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center, overseeing legal issues, compliance, and patient privacy and security. Mr. Korman has practiced health care law for more than 15 years.
This free one-hour forum will include time for questions and will cover topics such as:
- A Durable Health Care Power of Attorney, is a legal document in which you name someone close to you to make decisions about your health care in the event you become incapacitated.
- A Living Will is a legal document in which you state the kind of health care you want or don’t want under certain circumstances and allows your health care providers to administer treatment accordingly.
- Finding support to help address moral, ethical and religious concerns.
In addition, state-specific Advance Directives documents will be available to complete at the seminar or take home to complete.