A special talk by Gifford Director of Quality Management Sue Peterson will also take place from 4-4:30 p.m. on the importance of having an Advance Directive for making your end-of-life wishes known, new statewide initiatives and to answer any questions people may have.
An Advance Directive is a legal document in which you specify your health care wishes should you become unable to speak for yourself. These directives can then be shared with appropriate family members, your hospital or health care provider and with the Vermont Advance Directives Registry to help ensure your wishes are known and followed.
“You want to ensure that your decisions about life support are carried out if you’re unable to make health care decisions or can’t speak for yourself,” Peterson said. “We also want to encourage people to make sure their directives are part of the registry.”
Gifford’s annual event falls around National Healthcare Decisions Day, which aims to increase the number of people who understand the importance of end-of-life planning, talking with their loved ones about their wishes and completing Advance Directives.
Volunteers will be available at Gifford on April 17 to help people complete their Advance Directives. The hospital is also providing Advance Directive booklets for free. The cost of these booklets is being funded by Gifford’s Last Mile Ride, which raises money for end-of-life care – or, in this case, important end-of-life care planning. This year’s ride is Aug. 18.
Gifford will additionally scan participants’ Advance Directives into their patient records, provide participants copies of their directives to share with family members and mail completed directives to the Vermont registry for anyone who is interested.
No appointments are necessary. Filling out the Advance Directive form can take anywhere from minutes – say if all you want to do is designate a health care agent, or proxy, to make decisions for you – or up to an hour to thoroughly review the form and share your complete wishes. Topics on the form include appointing an agent, treatment wishes, organ and tissue donation, and funeral arrangements.
Advance Directives can be changed as your wishes change. Anyone with a changed or newly completed Advance Directive can bring those to one of the patient registration desks just inside the main entrance of the hospital to have your Advance Directive electronically scanned and saved in your Gifford patient record.
The hospital’s Conference Center is located just off from the patient parking area and marked with a green awning. For handicap access, use the main entrance, take the elevator down to the first floor and follow signs to the Conference Center. For more information, including directions, call the hospital at (802) 728-7000 or log on to www.giffordmed.org.