The Denton Area Partnership for End-of-Life Care wants all Denton County residents to be prepared in case a medical crisis occurs that prevents loved ones from communicating.
The nonprofit agency will offer a series of 30-minute sessions at two local hospitals and two library branches to share knowledge about living wills, medical power of attorney, and the need for people making sure their medical wishes are known in case something happens to them and they can’t tell friends, family and doctors themselves.
“What it does, if a person is in a situation where they needed medical treatment or medical decisions need to be made and the person is not able to speak for themselves, they will have written directions — [and] the most important thing is, someone identified as their spokesperson,” said Rodney Bolejack, chairman of the Denton Area Partnership for End-of-Life Care.
Bolejack said the organization will provide information explaining living wills and medical power of attorney, also known as advance directives, and provide copies of paperwork.
If participants wish, they can sign the papers at the seminars, and once signed, the papers can be witnessed and in effect.
People who want to go home and discuss the issues with family members and their physician can do that, too. Participants can also get guidance on just how to have those types of discussions with family, Bolejack said.
“It’s a very valuable tool for everyone over the age of 18,” Bolejack said. “Remember Terri Schiavo … Karen Ann Quinlan? Those were a couple of landmark cases and they were not elderly; they were young.”
Bolejack said the organization encourages people of all age groups to have a medical power of attorney form and a directive to physicians.
“Medical personnel and emergency personnel really see the value of these things … really, on a daily basis,” he said.
Meetings will be offered at both Denton Regional Medical Center and Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Denton on Nov. 1, as well as Denton’s North Branch Library and South Branch Library on Nov. 2.
“Everything is free. It’s being sponsored for the Denton Area Partnership for End-of-Life Care. We’re trying to educate the community,” Bolejack said. “From what I have read, I believe on a national basis, 71 percent of Americans have heard of advance directives, but only 23 percent have them completed. Our goal is everyone over the age of 18 in Denton County would have advance directives.
“You don’t plan for this to happen, but you need to have a plan in case it does happen.”
BJ LEWIS can be reached at 940-566-6875 and via Twitter at @BjlewisDRC.
IF YOU GO
What: Denton Decision Days for Healthcare Advanced Directives, a free session presented by the Denton Area Partnership for End-of-Life Care
When and where:
* 10 a.m. Nov. 1 in the Professional Office Building at Denton Regional Medical Center, 3537 S. Interstate 35E, in the Community Room on the second floor
* 2 p.m. Nov. 1 at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, 3000 N. Interstate 35, in the Rio Grande Room on the first floor
* 1 p.m. Nov. 2 at North Branch Library, 3020 N. Locust St.
* 3 p.m. Nov. 2 at South Branch Library, 3228 Teasley Lane