Hospice of the West Emphasizes Importance of Advance Directives for Arizonans, Promotes Discussions and Training on Advance Care Planning
PHOENIX–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Hospice of the West (HOW), a leading community-based hospice and palliative care organization in Maricopa County, Arizona, underscores the critical need for meaningful, thoughtful communication with families, caregivers and providers regarding end-of-life healthcare decisions, and the importance of executing advance directives for all Arizonans. As a passionate advocate for advance care planning (ACP), Rhea Go-Coloma, LMSW, chief administrative officer, HOW, spear-heads an initiative at HOW to provide education, training and resources regarding these issues, as well as guidance that has resulted in 100 percent of HOW’s employees completing pledges regarding their intentions to complete their ACP documents or have a thoughtful conversation on their already established individual advance directives.
“Completing a healthcare power of attorney and advance directive helps people feel confident that their wishes will be honored, while taking the burden off family members to make difficult decisions,” says Go-Coloma. “The leadership of HOW recognizes the importance of ACP, and encouraged the implementation of an annual ‘educational boot camp’ to help our employees to comfortably engage families and patients in these sensitive conversations. Ultimately, we are striving to ensure shared decision-making and the availability of advanced directive documents to healthcare providers when needed.”
Go-Coloma points to the recent enactment of Arizona’s Advance Directive Bill as a major step forward. This legislation requires Arizona to establish a process for healthcare providers, including emergency medicine service providers, to access the state’s Advance Directive Registry on or before December 31, 2018. The Registry currently houses 38,000 healthcare directives, and gives providers immediate, electronic access to documents to ensure that the healthcare proxy named by the patient is making healthcare decisions when the patient is unable to do so.
“Our intention is to relieve stress, diminish anxieties, and avoid disputes among loved ones that are related to unwanted interventions that fail to meet individual preferences for care at the end-of-life,” adds Go-Coloma.