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VA programs this week designed to help all make better health care decisions

The Buffalo Veterans Affairs Medical Center will host two programs this week  to help organizations around the U.S. mark National Healthcare Decisions Day on Saturday.

A “Lunch and Learn” film, “Nine to Ninety,” will be shown at noon and 8 p.m. in room 815C of the hospital, 3495 Bailey Ave.

Throughout Thursday, an information table will be set-up in the front lobby to address questions about aging and advance directives.

“As a result of National Healthcare Decisions Day, many more people in our community can
be expected to have thoughtful conversations about their healthcare decisions and complete reliable advance directives to make their wishes known,” said Dr. Grace L. Stringfellow, chief of staff.  “Fewer families and healthcare providers will have to struggle with making difficult healthcare decisions in the absence of guidance from the patient, and healthcare providers and facilities will be better equipped to address advance healthcare planning issues before a crisis and be better able to honor patient wishes when the time comes to do so.”

“Individuals are encouraged to express and document their values, personal goals for care and wishes about end-of-life care,” added Dr. Patricia Bomba, vice president of geriatrics with Univera Healthcare and chair of the National Healthcare Decisions Day New York State Coalition.

A survey conducted by Univera showed that nearly nine of 10 upstate New Yorkers surveyed said it is important to have someone close to them making medical decisions on their behalf if they were to have an irreversible terminal condition and were unable to communicate or make decisions. Yet, only 42 percent had designated a health care proxy to ensure their wishes are carried out.

Free advance care planning tools are online at CompassionAndSupport.org, a site that includes informational videos, family discussion tips, downloadable Health Care Proxy and MOLST forms, and a free planning booklet.

email: refresh@buffnews.com

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