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Hospice Provides Free Online Resources to Guide End-of-Life Planning

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Hospice of Michigan is now offering a complete online tool kit allowing individuals and families to take control of end-of-life decision making and planning.

The free resource is at www.haveyouhadthetalk.org, from which a tool kit can be downloaded and printed for free. 

The non-profit organization is raising awareness of its “Have You Had the Talk?” campaign, since federal health care reform will no longer include references to end-of-life counseling as part of Medicare’s new annual check up. The Obama administration decided to drop the references amid criticism of “death panels.”

The Web site and toolkit were created to help with an area of life planning that is often overlooked.

Hospice of Michigan, which is celebrating 30 years of providing hospice care in the state of Michigan, has long been committed to educating the public and health care professionals about end-of-life- care and planning. The Have You Had the Talk? Web site has information to empower individuals to speak for themselves about the care they want should they face a serious illness or unpredictable event that affects their health.

The Have You Had the Talk? Web site and tool kit:

* Explains “the talk”
* Provides a checklist of the steps to follow.
* Provides a guide to clarify wishes, organize paperwork and put wishes in writing
* Recommends “having the talk” with family members
* Suggests resources to get further information
* Recommends keeping the completed documents in the same place at all times (so they can be easily retrieved) and to keep a copy in the car’s glove compartment and with family members

Six questions to get started thinking about fundamental aspects of planning for a health care emergency or the end of life:

·What tasks do I want to complete before I die?
·What does “quality of life” mean to me?
·When faced with death, what does a “good death” mean to me?
·What role do I want my loved ones to have should I be facing death?  ·What kind of help and support do I want my loved ones to get if I should die?
·Who is the person I want to advocate for me in an emergency?

“We plan for most things in our life – our education, our careers, our vacations, our retirement,” said Dottie Deremo, president and CEO of Hospice of Michigan. “At Hospice of Michigan, we want people to plan for the care they want at the end of their lives. We want people to choose someone to be their advocate in the event they cannot speak for themselves. It is sensible to plan for this important chapter of our lives, and we created Have You Had the Talk? to help with this process, which is still new to most people.”

Hospice of Michigan, founded in 1980, is Michigan’s first and largest hospice. It serves nearly 900 patients each day in 56 counties in the Lower Peninsula. The non-profit hospice provider is a national advocate for improving end-of-life care for all Americans, and its mission is to serve all who need and seek care regardless of ability to pay. The organization raises nearly $4 million annually to cover the cost of caring for the uninsured and underinsured.

The organization can be reached for information 24 hours per day, seven days per week at (888) 247-5701 or www.hom.org.

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