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Course for faith leaders focues on health decisions

The Roswell Park Cancer Institute Pastoral Care Department will host an eight-week course for leaders of all faiths starting later this month titled “Conversations Change Lives.”

Roswell and the P2 Collaborative announced the course in conjunction with National Healthcare Decisions Day, which takes place Saturday as a way to connect families with resources to help plan for health care emergencies and end-of-life care.

The course begins April 25 and runs from 6 to 7:30 p.m. each Monday through June 22 except Memorial Day.

According to a brochure that includes an application, “Early family conversations, sharing what family members value most and how they aim to live, should begin as early as age 18. Faith perspectives greatly influence personal choices for end-of-life care, and it’s vital that spiritual leaders of all faiths and cultures learn about advance care planning.”

“This course will discuss how to start these important early conversations about values and end-of-life wishes with people who are healthy as well as those facing serious illness. Our presenters will illustrate the various options for ensuring quality care through end of life and upon completion, participants will be equipped with the resources to minster their faith communities.”

The course costs $60; for brochure and registration information, call the Pastoral Care Office at 845-8051. Registration is required by Monday.

The nonprofit P2 Collaborative, a health and wellness planning agency, almost a year ago started working with a large group of health systems, providers, insurers and other health and community leaders to create a regionwide, sustainable and robust effort to stir more people to have important health care conversations.

“This work is highly needed here,” P2 Executive Director John Craik said. “New York State has the highest percentage of people in the country who die in hospitals.”

The theme for this year’s National Healthcare Decisions Day is “It Always Seems Too Early, Until It’s Too Late.” Families can find resources to start their planning for health care proxies and other health care planning forms at theconversationproject.org and compassionandsupport.org.