In observance of National Healthcare Decisions on Friday, April 16, Shore Health System will be offering free copies of the advance directive Five Wishes. The Five Wishes and information on how to use it will be available from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the lobby of The Memorial Hospital at Easton, 219 S. Washington Street, and Dorchester General Hospital, 300 Byrn Street, in Cambridge.
The goal of National Healthcare Decisions Day is to increase the number of Americans who have an up to date advance directive, also known as a living will. By completing this document, people identify who they want to make medical decisions for them in the event they are seriously ill and cannot speak for themselves. Experts say that fewer than 30 percent of Americans have completed an advance directive even though it is recommended that everyone over age 18 have one.
On April 16, Shore Health System will be giving out the Aging with Dignity Five Wishes, America’s most popular living will. The document is easy to use and understand, and deals with personal, family and spiritual matters in addition to medical and legal concerns. Five Wishes is available in 26 languages and in Braille, and is used in all 50 states and in countries around the world.
“It’s understandable that people would put off discussing the topic of serious illness and death, but it’s essential to have this family conversation in advance,” says Ruth Sullivan, MS, RN, CRRN, NE-BC, director of patient and family advocacy for Shore Health System. “It’s a discussion that should take place in the living room, not in the hospital waiting room, when it may be too late.”
Information about advance directives and the Five Wishes form are available at www.shorehealth.org/services/advance/instr.shtml.