ELIZABETHTOWN — The Elizabethtown Rotary Club learned about the importance of advanced directives and having them in place as well as volunteer opportunities on Wednesday from Lower Cape Fear Hospice outreach Coordinator Lisa Priest Clark.
Clark told the group that Lower Cape Fear Hospice currently serves 25 citizens in Bladen County and has a total of 10 volunteers to serve the county.
“We have a great need for volunteers in the community,” said Clark.
She said that volunteers can sit and talk with a patient, visit with them, share hobbies with them, and such.
Clark also talked to the members about the importance of advanced directives such as a health care power of attorney and making your health care wishes known to someone in the event you become unable to speak for yourself.
Clark said Hospice offers a packet of information for care givers called Begin the Conversation to help families begin to have the discussion now. Clark called the packet a gift to your family.
“This is a way you can give back to your family,” said Clark.
Clark said the “Have a Conversation” initiative began several years ago. The slogan “Begin the Conversation” was a way to get folks to have a conversation with their family members about “end of life” or “advanced” care directives, said Clark.
The packet contains a brochure labeled BeginTheConversation.org. The booklet asks questions of the reader such as, “If you couldn’t speak for yourself, do you have someone to represent your healthcare wishes to make sure they are carried out? Who is it, and why have you chosen that person?”
The booklet is designed to engage readers and walk them through the process of thinking about what their wishes might be if they are ever faced with a situation where they cannot speak for themselves or may be faced with a catastrophic illness and treatment.
The booklet gives the reader the building blocks they need to carefully think through the many options available and start a conversation with their loved ones about what they may want done in terms of “advanced care.”
Clark said the state of North Carolina has contacted Hospice about making BeginTheConversation.org available statewide.
—Erin Smith can be reached at 910-862-4163.