GENESEE COUNTY, MI (April 16, 2015) – A community awareness campaign highlighting the importance of advance care planning is being launched on April 16th by the Greater Flint Health Coalition and its Your Health Your Choice Advance Care Planning (ACP) partners.
The Your Health Your Choice ACP project is a collaborative effort to develop a single, shared approach to advance care planning in Genesee County. Targeting Genesee County residents ages 55 and over, the Your Health Your Choice initiative provides resources, information and tools for people to talk about their healthcare wishes with family and healthcare providers and to complete written advance directives in accordance with Michigan state laws. Participating partners in the Your Health Your Choice ACP initiative include Genesys Regional Medical Center, Hurley Medical Center, McLaren Flint, the Genesee County Medical and Osteopathic Societies, along with several physician organizations and local health plans and payers.
The group’s public kickoff for the Advance Care Planning project coincides with National Healthcare Decisions Day, which is celebrated annually on April 16. Along with a morning media conference at the Flint Farmer’s Market, each of the three area hospitals will staff informational displays in their lobbies from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on April 16. The public is welcome to visit either Genesys, Hurley or McLaren and receive free information about advance care planning as well as access to advance directive forms. In addition, individuals will be able to schedule – at no charge – an appointment with a certified advance care planning facilitator for assistance with advance care planning and completion of their own advance directive. These resources are also available by visiting www.yourhealthyourchoice.org
The Your Health Your Choice ACP project’s goal is to provide Genesee County residents with early access to the advance care planning process. Providers throughout the region are being educated to engage patients in advance care planning on an ongoing basis, referring them to support systems and following up with them as necessary. As part of their long term support of this initiative, each hospital is offering free monthly ACP educational sessions and one-on-one appointments on an ongoing basis.
Ideally, advance care planning is undertaken when patients are healthy and can speak for themselves. Individuals are encouraged to have conversations with their families and other loved ones to clarify their goals, values and wishes. This makes it much more likely that the person will receive the medical care that supports those goals, and it also helps to prevent family members from questioning medical decisions made on behalf of a patient.
“It is 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,” said Lori Kunkel, Vice President of Programs, Greater Flint Health Coalition. “Advance care planning is a gift for families so they are not left struggling in a crisis to determine what kind of treatment their loved one would want or second-guessing their decisions.”
For more information, visit www.yourhealthyourchoice.org
About the Your Health Your Choice Advance Care Planning Project:
Your Health Your Choice is an initiative of the Greater Flint Health Coalition (GFHC) in partnership with Genesee County healthcare providers including Genesys Health System, Hurley Medical Center, McLaren Flint, and Genesee County Medical Society. It is focused on developing a shared, community-wide process for advance care planning that creates effective methods to honor the informed healthcare decisions of patients that respect each patient’s rights while: a) providing comfort and dignity during end-of-life care, b) increasing the patient’s participation in decisions regarding medical care before and at the end of life, and c) ensuring a record reflecting patients’ healthcare decisions is available when needed across Genesee County health systems and provider sites.
For more information on the Your Health Your Choice Advance Care Planning Project visit http://www.yourhealthyourchoice.org