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LMHS to provide information for public on National Health Care Decisions Day

By Staff | Apr 14, 2015

Cape Coral Hospital will provide information about advanced directives on Thursday.

Lee Memorial Health System’s four acute care hospitals, including the Cape hospital, will provide education and documents to the public and staff from 7 to 9 a.m. and from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Q-Life Palliative Care and Spiritual Services will oversee the information booths, set up near the cafeteria.

“Every day in the hospital setting, we see people come in who are really really sick,” Deborah Whitehair, a clinical social worker, said. “Many times they can’t advocate for themselves.”

Thursday – April 16 – will also mark National Health Care Decisions Day.

“It allows each of us as a U.S. citizen to pre-appoint someone of our choice to make those medical decisions in the case of an emergency,” she said of the documents.

The information tables will have blank copies of the Florida Advance Directive available, including health care surrogate and living will documents. Explanations and a how-to will be in the packet.

“They’re free to do,” Whitehair said of filling out the forms.

However, only approximately 25 percent of people have prepared their paperwork.

The information booth staff will also be available to answer questions.

“Personal counsel to ask any questions about the documents and what they mean,” she said.

For those who do not have a plan, the state has laws governing who will make decisions for you.

“But it may be someone in your family who you do not want to make those decisions or who may struggle,” Whitehair said. “This gives us the opportunity to make these decisions in advance.”

This is the first year LMHS has offered this on National Health Care Decisions Day.

“I’m hoping we get a real good turnout,” she said. “It would be great to continue it every year.”

For those unable to attend Thursday, the documents can be found online at: www.leememorial.org. Visitors to any of the four hospitals can also ask the Volunteer Desk about the paperwork.

“It doesn’t have to be that day – we’re glad to take the time to counsel somebody,” Whitehair said of the LMHS Q-Life Palliative Care and Spiritual Services. “Just know that we’re available.”

Lee Memorial Hospital, HealthPark Medical and Gulf Coast Medical centers will also take part.

Cape Coral Hospital is at 636 Del Prado Blvd.