There will be a public forum entitled “I Wish I had Known …” on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013, from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Novant Health Prince William Medical Center 4th Floor Medical Office Building, at 8700 Sudley Road in Manassas, to help people learn how to care for family members who are near the end of life or to help those who suffer serious illness. The forum is funded by the Prince William Area Agency on Aging.
Eventually, everyone will have to face questions about end of life care; and those questions will be difficult to ask, let alone answer. “It’s hard if you’ve been taking care of mom for 10 years and then take her in to the doctor and have questions on your mind. Is it time to let go? Is it time to consider hospice?” said Cynthia Coleman, the program director for palliative care at Novant at Prince William Hospital and Heathcote Emergency Department.
When should doctors and nurses be allowed to perform cardio-pulmonary resuscitation? Do patients need or want to be tube fed? How does one go about preparing an advance directive? Speakers at the forum will help people learn how to ask and answer those questions.
The forum, presented by the Learning from Our Community to Provide Expertise in an Action-Oriented Partnership (LEAP) program, will include keynote speaker Hank Dunn, an ordained healthcare chaplain and author of the book “Hard Choices for Loving People: CPR, Artificial Feeding Comfort Care, and the Patient with Life-Threatening Illness,” who will speak at 9:30 a.m.
Other speakers will talk about how people can initiate conversations with their physicians about hospice or end-of-life care, the Veterans Administration Hospice Benefits, advance directives and caregiver stress.
Coleman said people are becoming more aware of options when it comes to caring for seriously ill or dying family members, but families need to be aware that they need written advance directives to ensure their wishes are met. “There is an increased awareness about the benefits of hospice and palliative care to proactively manage the end of life and serious illness. Those things need to be on paper and communicated to your physician and family. Your wishes are very, very important, but we have to know what your wishes are, and the people who can speak for you need to know what those wishes are, so they can confidently communicate that to the physician or hospital.”
Exhibitors will include area the Prince William Area Agency on Aging, hospice agencies, the Conversation Project, Medicare-Medicaid, elder care attorneys, the Washington Regional Transplant Consortium and End of Life Services.
Federal funding for the forum comes from the National Family Caregiver Program funds and is administered through the Prince William Area Agency on Aging.
For a complete schedule of speakers, or to register for the event, visit www.novanthealth.org/classes
. You may also call 703-530-9355. Pre-registration is encouraged, but not required.