The Alliance for Living and Dying Well is pleased to announce that it has received a generous two-year grant in the amount of $191,400 from the Archstone Foundation, whose mission is to contribute toward the preparation of society in meeting the needs of an aging population.

The grant will go toward the alliance’s goal of developing an Advance Care Planning Center for Santa Barbara County. The ACP Center will provide integrated, comprehensive and high-quality advance care planning for seniors in the community.

The aging of the general population, increased longevity and the resulting increase in chronic illness, such as Alzheimer’s, create a vital need to ensure that seniors have access to the kind of health care they need and desire, and that their preferences and values concerning quality of life are known and honored.

“Research shows that having an advance health care directive contributes greatly to peace of mind and assurance that one’s health care at the end of their life will be consistent with one’s values, preferences and quality of life,” said Susan Plummer, executive director of the Alliance for Living and Dying Well. “Currently in Santa Barbara County, only 10 percent of patients arrive at Cottage Hospital with a completed and accessible AHCD. This generous grant from the Archstone Foundation will allow the alliance to move forward in our goal of raising awareness and increasing important conversations about end-of-life care, and the reality of death.”

The ACP Center will build capacity throughout their existing partnerships and resources within the Santa Barbara County health care system to provide the best practices Respecting Choices approach to facilitate high-quality advance care planning conversations between individuals and their health-care surrogates. This will be accomplished by training both health-care professionals and volunteers who will then be able to facilitate conversations both within health care agencies as well as through workshops held in diverse locations in the community.

Acting as a clearinghouse, the ACP Center will be accepting ACP referrals from physician groups and community agencies to link those with chronic, progressive illness to trained facilitators for personalized ACP support as well as offering ACP support to the general population by insuring that all referrals receive appropriate and thorough services.

“The Archstone Foundation is pleased to provide funding for the Alliance for Living and Dying Well’s Advance Care Planning Center,” said Joseph Prevratil, JD, president and CEO of the Archstone Foundation. “This project to create a center where community members can learn about and complete their advance care planning aligns with the Foundation’s mission of serving our aging population, and we hope that it serves as a model for future ACP Centers around the state and country.”

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 and healing through discussions of our mortality, and it promotes practical planning, such as advance health care directives. For information, click here or call 805.845.5314.

— Jennifer Zacharias is a publicist representing the Alliance for Living and Dying Well.