It’s Never Too Early to Complete an Advance Directive

Submitted by PeaceHealth

When it comes to advance care planning, statistics show that there is a big difference between “talking” and “doing.”

According to the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, a recent study suggested that while 82 percent of people surveyed believe that putting their end-of-life care wishes in writing is a good idea, only 27 percent have completed that task.

“Advance care planning is about sharing personal goals, values, religious and cultural beliefs, and what matters individually for quality of life with family, friends and medical providers,” said Hilary Walker, program coordinator for PeaceHealth Advance Care Planning. “It’s also about completing an advance directive. Both will help to ensure your wishes are followed, in the event of a medical crisis.”

PeaceHealth is offering free community workshops that walk participants through the elements of advance care planning. Upcoming workshop dates include:

  • Sedro-Woolley, Washington: May 22, at PeaceHealth United General Medical Center, Coho Café, 2000 Hospital Drive. For more information, call Hilary Walker, advance care planning coordinator, at 360-752-5267.
  • Bellingham, Washington: June 6 and July 4, at the Health Education Center, 3333 Squalicum Parkway. For more information, call Hilary Walker, advance care planning coordinator, at 360-752-5267.

PeaceHealth provider Avneet Rattan, MD, recently enrolled in one of the workshops for herself and for her patients. In one evening, she was able to complete her advance directive, and have it notarized. She is now more prepared to have end-of-life care discussions with her patients and their families.

“It is important to me that I am able to talk to my patients about advance care planning and explain that there is no minimum age to starting the ACP process,” she said. “We never know when we will need an advance directive.”

Karen Haggen, a PeaceHealth foundation and hospice legacy advisor, also participated in the PeaceHealth workshop.  Haggen talks to donors daily about planning and sharing their wishes in advance. But when it came to planning for her own end-of-life care, she hadn’t updated her advance directive since her children were young. She realized it was time to revisit those documents and have conversations now that her kids are adults.

At the workshop Haggen received step-by-step guidance, and experts were on hand to answer questions. She describes the process as quick and easy.

“It was really simple,” she said. “Six of us left the class with the advance care directive notarized and ready to drop in the mail. It felt so good to get that done.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email