Class discusses the ins and outs of completing advance care planning for yourself or a loved one
VANCOUVER — The topic of death or the end of life process can be extremely uncomfortable for many people, especially in western culture. Discussing the subject is rare, but necessary, and there exist helpful steps for doing it right.
PeaceHealth Southwest is now offering Advance Care Planning classes at its Vancouver location. The classes deal directly with creating a plan for drafting a living will and deciding who will have durable power of attorney as well as be your healthcare agent, in the event you are ill or in an accident.
“The big picture of this work is we want to bridge the gap in the thought process that, ‘only older people need Advance Directives,’” said the Program’s Coordinator April Duff. “This is for everyone 18 and older, because we want our voices to be heard. Many times we plan our weddings, we plan for our kids, but do we plan for our healthcare when we can’t speak for ourselves?”
The process is not difficult, and only requires a small amount of documentation and decision making. The most difficult part, Duff said, is having a conversation with your friends or family members about becoming your healthcare agent(s) in the event of a crisis.
The class is interactive, with time for questions throughout. Participants are also encouraged to complete portions of their Advance Directive packet during the course.
The packet outlines your goals, values and preferences with regard to a hypothetical situation where you would be unable to speak for yourself. Duff said it is important that the person you choose to be able to stand up for you in a trying time which is often emotional for family and friends.
“We ask every patient at PeaceHealth, ‘Do you have an Advance Directive?’ If they say, ‘No,’ then we offer them that support,” Duff said. “We do community work like this, where if they are having a hard time having that conversation with their spouse or their children, we can help bridge that.”
PeaceHealth holds classes every month on the subject, and they are free and open to the public. Sign up information and the dates of future classes can be found here.