I applaud the Herald for the editorial in the Aug. 5 weekend edition drawing attention to the important issues of talking about death and dying, and a series of programs being sponsored by Mercy Regional Medical Center.
The editorial refers to, but does not specifically name, advance care planning, the process of making known your wishes for future health care in the event that you become unable to speak for yourself. I wanted to follow up on this issue and provide a community resource opportunity.
The Community Health Action Coalition is our local coordinating body for communication, collaboration, education and other health-related activities in La Plata County. CHAC launched an ACP initiative in 2016 titled, “My Life: Deciding in Advance.” The goal is to educate all adults age 18 and older throughout the county about the importance of ACP. This two-year initiative involves a series of presentations for all segments of our community.
CHAC is hosting this free community-wide program on Sept. 14 at the Durango Public Library from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. The program will include segments on:
Staying in charge of your lifeExploring your values about death and dyingPros and cons of life-sustaining technologiesUnderstanding Colorado advance directive forms. This program will be interactive and have time devoted to questions, discussion and even assistance in completing advance directives for those ready to do so. ACP is not limited to senior citizens. The most publicized cases in recent decades where advanced directives would have made a significant difference were in young women in their 20s. So college students and young, healthy adults should do ACP as well as our senior population.
I urge all adults to learn about advance care planning. Please attend this enlightening and empowering program. There will be a light breakfast and snacks during the program. You can register by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at 970-884-2355.
Bob Cox, MD