In observance of National Healthcare Decisions Day on Thursday, April 16, Shore Health System will be offering free copies of the advance directive Five Wishes. The form and assistance with 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 and Dorchester General Hospital in Cambridge.
The goal of National Healthcare Decisions Day is to increase the number of Americans who have completed an 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.
“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, RNC, CRRN, CAN, Director of Patient/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.”
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 meets the legal requirements of 40 states, including Maryland, and is also a valuable tool for beginning sensitive family discussions. The document is available in English, Spanish and 21 other languages in order to address the diverse cultural needs of the community.
The public is welcome to come to either Shore Health System hospital on Thursday, April 16 to pick up a copy of the Five Wishes advance directive. The form will be available in the main lobby at Memorial Hospital, 219 S. Washington Street in Easton and at Dorchester General Hospital, 300 Byrn Street in Cambridge.
Information about advance directives and the Five Wishes form are also available on the Shore Health System website at www.shorehealth.org/services/advance/instr.shtml.