(Alliance for Living and Dying Well photo)

The question of how much a person wishes to endure to remain alive, and what they want their quality of life to be as they approach death, is an intensely emotional and personal one, but an important one. It’s the question that Santa Barbara’s Alliance for Living and Dying Well‘s work and mission revolves around, fostering advance care planning conversations in the community. As part of their ongoing efforts, the Alliance is pleased to announce their 4th Annual Get It Done Today! event on April 14th, in conjunction with National Healthcare Decisions Day. Get It Done Today! is a FREE community-wide event to encourage the public to complete Advance Health Care Directives. The event will take place at the Santa Barbara Public Library’s Faulkner Gallery from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Get It Done Today! is an opportunity for anyone in the community to come and begin the conversation about end-of-life wishes, learn more about the process, and take the initiative to complete an Advance Health Care Directive. Currently, in Santa Barbara County, 12% of patients arrive at Cottage Hospital with a completed and accessible AHCD.

“Not only is communicating end-of-life wishes vital to making sure patients don’t undergo procedures against their wishes, even after they may lose the ability to communicate those choices, it also helps physicians ensure they’re doing what’s best for patients from a holistic point of view,” shared Susan Plummer, Executive Director of the Alliance for Living and Dying Well. “Advance directives and planning can help to not only avoid undesired care and side effects, but also, having advance care planning conversations is a tremendous gift to loved ones as they are more able to ensure that your wishes are being honored when you cannot speak on your own behalf.”

The Alliance will have professional facilitators, notaries, and trained volunteers – both English and Spanish speaking – onsite at the Get It Done Today! event to facilitate the process of completing advance health care directives.  In addition, Cottage Hospital, a member of the Alliance and important community partner, will electronically scan AHCD documents into patients’ medical records, where they remain on file and easily accessible to medical and healthcare providers when needed. This important free service not only improves accessibility of the individual’s AHCD by medical and healthcare providers, but also supports the Alliance’s mission of ensuring AHCDs are available and accessible when they are most critically needed.

Appointments are required, so call now to reserve (805) 845-5314.

The Alliance for Living and Dying Well is a collaboration of Santa Barbara area agencies that seeks a seamless, compassionate continuum of end-of-life care. The Alliance fosters learning through discussions of our mortality, and it promotes practical planning, such as advance health care directives. For information, please call 805-845-5314 or visit www.AllianceforLivingandDyingWell.org.

— Jennifer Zacharias of JZPR represents the Alliance for Living and Dying Well.