Facilitating Advance Directives at Aria Bucks

Yesterday afternoon, Jessica, Devon and I went to a facilitator refresher for the Respecting Choices® advance care planning at Aria Bucks. We were trained in 2015 by Carolyn Newsom with other volunteers — mostly social workers from local facilities. All of us work with older adults and see the emotional havoc in family’s lives when a parent is dying and no one knows or can agree on what health care measures should be provided to their parent. It makes sense to us that end-of-life healthcare decisions be made when people are healthy, Waiting to make those decisions at the end leads to trauma and guilt and must take all measures if no one makes a decision. We know that just because you can prolong someone’s life doesn’t mean you should. It’s all about the quality and richness of your life – not it’s length.

Carolyn Newsom spearheaded Respecting Choices nearly three years ago after hearing a radio program about the quality of the death experience in America… how about long, painful and confusing?  The statistic that caught her attention was that 90%+ of adults in La Crosse WI have advance care directives while less that 18% of adults in Pennsylvania have one. The program in Wisconsin was started in 1991 and was now being rolled out in other parts of the country and the world. Carolyn decided to get Bucks County onboard with Respecting Choices. She got a group together in January 2015 to hear Bud Hammes talk about the program and 2016 brought in BCHIP, the Bucks County Health Improvement Partnership (St. Mary Medical Center, St. Luke’s Quakertown Hospital, Doylestown Health, Grand View, Lower Bucks Hospital, Aria Jefferson health, Bucks County Department of Health, Bucks County Medical Society).

Our team of facilitators will be working at Aria Bucks. Doctors will prescribe an “Advance Care Planning Conversation” for patients and a facilitator will be assigned to walk the patient through an hour-long discussion culminating in a completed Advance Care Directive.

If you are interested in talking with a Respecting Choices certified facilitator about your wishes call Carolyn Newsom (215) 321-0468. A facilitator will help you put your wishes into an advance directive and tell you how to communicate your plan to your doctor and others of your choosing. My sister Devon and I used Five Wishes. It was a deep conversation about our values and how we want to live the end of our lives. The conversation took too long. If we’d had someone to guide us, it would have been done in two hours. This is courageous work all of us need to do.

Call us at A WAY TO STAY Home Care. We happy to talk about your home care needs and point you in the right direction if we can’t help. A WAY TO STAY is a home care agency providing In-Home Care in Yardley – Newtown. We are Live-In Care Specialists.


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A Way to Stay
1596 Quarry Road,
Yardley, PA 19067
(215) 321-5100

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