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Thought for the Day

Dear Readers,

I am sharing a thought I read in a story written by Alexander McCall Smith called Emma. “ …it has been the summer during which moral insight came to her – something that may happen to all of us, if it happens at all, at very different stages in our lives. This had happened because she had been able to make that sudden imaginative leap that lies at the heart of our moral lives: the ability to see, even for a brief moment, the world as it is seen by the other person. It is this understanding that lies behind all kindness to others, all attempts to ameliorate the situation of those who suffer, all those acts of charity by which we make our lives something more than the pursuit of the goals of the unruly ego.”

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NHDD – Lesson from the past, looking to the future

NHDD takes place annually, the week of April 16. GMOL and its partners celebrate NHDD with communities throughout Alameda County. In 2017, we celebrated “Decision Day” at community cafés located in three different cities within Alameda County. “Come and get yourself a free coffee” while being able to engage in a “conversation” about health care choices and complete an advance directive!

What you can do at the event:

  1. Meet new people, get to know one another and share your stories/thoughts as much or less as you wish;
  2. Play the fun Heart to Heart game/the Go Wish card game and acknowledge/prioritize your wants and needs;
  3. Learn about advance care planning from professionals who can answer your questions;
  4. Complete an Advance Directive to document the care you wish to get.

We had fun. A wide ethnic mix of attendees including Asian, Pilipino, Hispanic, African American, and white with a median age of 41 participated in NHDD this year at  Suju’s Café and Tea in Fremont, at the Eon Coffee Shop in Hayward and at the 1951 Café in Berkeley.  Altogether, 18 People completed their Advance Directives (AD), and Comfort Homesake distributed the wallet card to those who completed their AD.

 

Front Of Card                                                                             Back Of Card

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What is Advance Care Planning?

Advance care planning is not just for seniors. A medical crisis can strike at any time rendering the patient unable to make his own medical decisions. It is best, when able and healthy, to plan ahead so that you receive the medical attention you desire in the future, even if physicians, family and friends make those decisions for you.

Regardless of age, learn about the types of decisions that might have to be made, consider them in advance, then inform others about your preferences and values with an Advance Health Care Directive which takes effect if you become incapacitated and cannot communicate.

There are other documents, such as a Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST), that supplement an Advance Health Care Directive with more detailed instructions about your medical wishes.

Advance care planning is the best way to ensure your wishes are known, understood and respected. Musical artist Ise Lyfe (Director, Comfort Homesake) and Marilyn Ababio (Hospice Services Coordinator, Alameda County Health Care Services Agency) explain why: http://ow.ly/tSBtg

This video, donated by the Canadian Speak Up Campaign to the National Healthcare Decisions Day effort, reinforces the message:http://vimeo.com/36052824

Please visit nhdd.org and take action on April 16, 2014 (National Healthcare Decisions Day) and be sure your family, friends, colleagues, associations, etc. do the same. Your decisions matter.

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The Conversation

The Conversation

By the Alameda County Health Care Services Agency

A “senior tsunami” threatens to overwhelm the healthcare system. Baby-boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, will create an unprecedented demand for palliative and end-of-life care services over the next 30-40 years. Many professionals say it is happening now. Neither the private nor public sector has the capacity to cope.

The over-60 age group will grow by 170 percent by 2030. The average life span has increased by 30 years in the last century. Seventy-nine percent of people receiving long-term care live at home and not in institutions. Sixteen million families will care for their children and/or disabled family members and aging parents, too. Longevity is accompanied by fears of insufficient and/or unwanted treatment at the end of life. People are not dying in the manner they would choose.

The Alameda County Health Care Services Agency wishes to implement systems to deal with end-of-life care before the senior tsunami begins. The Agency’s hospice project, Getting the Most OUT OF LIFE (GMOL), is a partnership with for-profit and non-profit palliative care and hospice providers serving County residents. The coalition aims to engage families in low-cost and free services concerning end-of-life care and planning for the future. A secondary goal is to increase awareness and use of hospice services by the elderly, terminally ill and medically frail and to explore ways to augment service delivery in a culturally-sensitive manner.

GMOL, facilitated by Alameda County Hospice Services Coordinator Marilyn Ababio, has launched The Conversation campaign to promote discussion about end-of-life care issues. In America, it is never easy to discuss or deal with death but not talking about it does not make it easier. Not having a plan can make matters more difficult when loved ones pass.

The Conversation is about what matters to you, not what is the matter with you. The campaign does not promote any preference for end-of-life care but guides and encourages people to consider, communicate and document their critical care preferences using an Advance Health Care Directive (AHCD) and/or the Physicians Order for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST) long before a medical crisis occurs.

According to the 2012 California Healthcare Foundation Survey, 60 percent of people agree it is “extremely important” not to burden their family with tough decisions but 56 percent have not communicated their end-of-life wishes.

Seventy percent of interviewees say they would prefer to die at home but 70 percent of all deaths occur in a hospital, nursing home or long-term care facility.

Eighty percent of respondents feel they would want to discuss end-of-life care with their doctor, if seriously ill, but only seven percent have had this conversation. Also, 92 percent reported their doctors had never broached the subject of end-of-life medical treatment.

“Without an opportunity to discuss wishes and concerns, people are likely to hand over these often critical care decisions to clinicians and surrogates who may be poorly equipped to make those decisions,” says Ellen Goodman, Founder of theconversationproject.org.

Alameda County is offering free Conversation Starter Facilitator training on Saturday, February 8 (9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.) and Thursday, March 6, 2014 (4:30-7:00 p.m.) at Alameda County Health Care Services Agency, 2nd Floor, 1000 San Leandro Blvd., San Leandro. Register for one of the training days by sending contact details to alameda.gmol@gmail.com. Free on-site training for groups of 15, or more, can be scheduled by contacting Marilyn.Ababio@acgov.org.

On National Healthcare Decisions Day (April 16, 2014), multiple events will occur throughout the County, celebrating our volunteers and supporters and further engaging the public on advance care planning topics. Scheduled events are: Expo and program at the Henry J. Kaiser Center, Oakland, CA; and Death Café at Suju’s Coffee, 3602 Thornton Ave., Fremont, CA.

Connect with us. LIKE our Facebook Page at facebook.com/GettingTheMostOutOfLifeAlamedaCounty, JOIN our Facebook Group Conversation Starters at http://on.fb.me/1iI0tSx and FOLLOW us on Twitter @ALCO_GMOL.

Hear more at http://youtu.be/_0mGwuDd39s

Conversation Starter Facilitator Training
Saturday, February 8
9:30 a.m. -12:30 p.m.
Alameda County Health Care Services Agency
1000 San Leandro Blvd., 2nd Floor, San Leandro
alameda.gmol@gmail.com
facebook.com/GettingTheMostOutOfLifeAlamedaCounty

Conversation Starter Facilitator Training
Thursday, March 6
4:30 – 7:00 p.m.
Alameda County Health Care Services Agency
1000 San Leandro Blvd., 2nd Floor, San Leandro
alameda.gmol@gmail.com
facebook.com/GettingTheMostOutOfLifeAlamedaCounty

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