The Compassionate Care Alliance of the Greater Sacramento Region is a non-profit coalition of healthcare professionals and community members encouraging dialogue about end-of-life issues. Established in 2001, the Alliance provides consumer education, offers seminars for health professionals and faith leaders, and sponsors activities during California's Health Care Decisions Week.
Free "lunch and learn" talks
Area businesses and state agencies are sponsoring Medical Decisions When They Count Most, a one-hour session to help employees of all ages prepare for decisions about medical care if they become unable to communicate their wishes.
Also available for civic organizations, congregations and senior groups, the program includes information on advance directives and talking with families and doctors about preferences for care. To schedule a speaker, contact SHD.
SHD's Finding Your Way booklet encourages early family discussions and helps those who are considering whether to initiate or withdraw life-sustaining treatment when the end of life is near (also available in Spanish). Mrs. Lee's Story, in English and Chinese, introduces end-of-life issues that concern Chinese elders and their families. Preview and order on End-of-Life Educational Materials page.
California's Advance Health Care Directive is a way to make your health care wishes known if you become unable to communicate or prefer someone else to speak for you. An advance directive can serve one or both of these functions: Power of Attorney for Health Care (to appoint an agent) and Instructions for Health Care (to indicate your wishes).
To assist in making your wishes known, the Alliance provides the following free forms and other materials:
Organ donor registry
The Donate Life California Organ & Tissue Donor Registry is a secure and confidential way to document your wishes for donation. Sign up at www.donateLIFEcalifornia.org or www.doneVIDAcalifornia.org (Spanish). For more information, call (916) 567-1600.
Seminars for Healthcare Professionals & Faith Leaders
Respecting Choices course
2009 courses: March 12 & 13; October 1 & 2
This two-day nationally recognized advance care planning facilitator training is designed for nurses and social workers from community and healthcare settings. Respecting Choices is sponsored twice yearly by the Alliance and CHW Strategic Learning Dept. Continuing education credits are available for RNs, MFTs and LCSWs.
Developed to bridge medical and ethical concepts with the spiritual aspects of end-of-life care, the program includes:
Health Care Decisions Week
2009 Week: October 25 - 31
Held the last week in October, California's Health Care Decisions Week is a time for people to think about the kind of care they would want if they become seriously ill or incapacitated, talk with their loved ones and doctors about their wishes, and complete an advance directive document.
2008 activities included a free community lecture and book-signing by Dr. Pauline Chen, NY Times columnist and author, Final Exam: A Surgeon′s Reflections on Mortality; presentations on medical decision-making at area community and senior centers; and advance directive classes at local hospitals.
For more information, contact SHD.