By: Carol Katz
What does it mean to you to live well? This is one on the first questions a trained facilitator will discuss with you as a part of Big Bend Hospice’s new program PEACE. PEACE (Planning Early about Care at the End) is modeled after Respecting Choices™ a well-developed and proven systematic approach to help people articulate clearly and with those who matter most, their wishes for end-of-life health care. The PEACE program uses certified health care facilitators from Big Bend Hospice who have been trained in helping people have on-going discussions about important issues like what treatment a person would want if they are no longer able to speak for themselves to how would a person like to be remembered by those who matter most to them. These desires are captured on a document like Five Wishes and a reliable system is set in place to ensure the document is available as needed. The goal is to initiate an ongoing discussion that focuses on a person’s motivation, knowledge and belief regarding health care at the end-of-life. The assessment helps to articulate preferences, values and goals. Building off of this understanding, people are better equipped to select a person who can speak for them in the event they cannot speak for themselves. Understanding the medical aspect of care for life-limiting illnesses, allows a person to make better informed decisions of what they do or do not want and these decisions can be clearly articulated to their family, doctors, rabbi or minister, and other trusted persons. Personal, cultural, and religious beliefs impact how we live and should be considered in how we die. Big Bend Hospice is proud to put in to place a program that will result in greater patient satisfaction as wishes are honored, better patient outcomes as patients receive the care they want and avoid the care they don’t want, and lower costs as unwanted tests and procedures are limited by planning early about care at the end. Even if you have advance directives in place, you might find it helpful to review these plans with a facilitator skilled in evaluating the clarity of the values and wishes expressed. If you would like to schedule a one-on-one meeting with a trained facilitator or have a PEACE representative come and speak with your Church or organization, call (850) 878-5310. The service is free. Big Bend Hospice has been serving this community since 1983 with compassionate end of life care along with grief and loss counselors available to provide information and support to anyone in Leon, Jefferson, Taylor, Madison, Gadsden, Liberty, Franklin or Wakulla county. If you would like additional information about services, please call (850) 878-5310 or visit www.bigbendhospice.org.