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Human Services

Posted on: March 23, 2018

Advance care directive workshops provide help to protect your health care decisions

If you became unable to speak, who would make your medical decisions? While two-thirds of Americans have wills for their estates or possessions, only 15 percent have advance directives for health care – most often written by legal professionals, not health care providers. When a crisis comes, those advance directives may fail to provide adequate guidance for the application of medical care.

Pierce County Aging & Disability Resources will host “End of Life & Advance Directives: A Medical Perspective” led by Nancy Lorber, ARNP, and member of the Congregational Health Ministries program at CHI Franciscan Health in Tacoma.

The free informational presentation about advance directives from a medical perspective will educate participants about directives and how they succeed or fail when it comes to real, end-of-life experiences.

Presentations will be held twice in April:

  • April 7 – 10:30 a.m. at the Puyallup Library, 324 S. Meridian in Puyallup
  • April 21 – 10 a.m. at the Pierce County Sound View Building, 3602 Pacific Ave. in Tacoma


“End of Life & Advance Directives: A Medical Perspective” discusses how individuals need to consider practical care options from a different mindset. Patients and physicians are not always able to control sudden or unexpected health conditions and the treatments they require. Depending on health, age, condition and level of pain or discomfort, application of certain procedures may or may not be desired.

“When families confront an extreme health crisis of a loved done, they typically turn to Advance Directives for healthcare,” said Aaron Van Valkenburg, Pierce County Aging & Disability Resources manager. “While that can be extremely helpful, the reality is that such guidance can become very limited.  Unless a health care provider was involved in drafting the directions, these legal documents may not provide adequate help in real-life circumstances.”

Most advance directives focus on four possible scenarios: coma with a chance of recovery, persistent vegetative state, dementia and dementia with terminal illness. The reality is that, for a majority of patients, their medical condition is much more complex and can develop dramatically over a period of hours or days.

Events are free and open to the public. No RSVP is required. For more information about the presentation call 253-798-4600.

MEDIA CONTACTS:
Bob Riler, Pierce County Human Services/Aging & Disability Resources
253-798-7384
briler@co.pierce.wa.us

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