Accidents don't know age limits. They occur to young and old alike. The same is true of illness and disease. At some point in our adult years, roughly 50% of us are likely to be in a medical crisis and unable to speak for ourselves. We might be unconscious, or sedated, or just too ill to grapple with the facts and possibilities for treatment, and to make sound decisions. We'll need another way to make our preferences known.
Are you ready? Is everyone in your household over age 18 ready? Advance care planning is what creates readiness. It is the process of thinking about, talking about, and documenting your healthcare wishes and priorities—before a crisis occurs.
To help Sonoma County community members prepare, My Care My Plan: Speak Up, Sonoma County is hosting a free advance care planning workshop, Who Will Speak for You If You Can't Speak for Yourself? on Tuesday, April 16, 2-4 p.m., at Partnership HealthPlan, 495 Tesconi Circle, Santa Rosa. Register online at MyCareMyPlanSonoma.org under Events, by phone at (707) 565-5950, or by email to email@example.com.
When you complete your advance directive, you get a feeling of control. If you ever become a patient, your directive ensures that everyone on your care team will know what you want," says Brad Stuart, M.D., former Santa Rosa internist, now chief medical officer for the Coalition to Transform Advanced Care (C-TAC) in Washington, D.C. "Your doctor will appreciate that you have one, too!"
"It's also a gift to your friends and family members," says Dorothy Foster, LMFT and co-chair of My Care, My Plan. "They don't have to stress about guessing, or quarrel among themselves, about what you'd want."
Stuart and Foster will lead the April workshop, designed for anyone over age 18. Participants consider the type of care they would want in a health crisis, and how to make their wishes known through thoughtful advance care planning and clear, written, advance health care directives. The presenters will also offer ideas for how to talk with family, loved ones, and healthcare providers about medical treatment options, trade-offs, and wishes.
My Care, My Plan: Speak Up, Sonoma County’s (MyCareMyPlanSonoma.org) vision is for every adult in the county to become educated and empowered to express his/her wishes about end-of-life care, to have the opportunity to do so, and to have their wishes honored in a medical crisis. This is an initiative of the Committee for Healthcare Improvement and Sonoma County Health Action, which mobilize community partnerships and resources to achieve equity and improve health for all in Sonoma County. MCMP is a collaborative of organizations and individuals from the private, public, nonprofit, and volunteer sectors, including local healthcare and social service organizations and other community partners.