Plan for the treatment you want in a medical crisis
Published: June 18, 2019
We tend to think of accidents, illness and death as a concern for older adults only, yet, of all age groups, people under age 30 have the most auto accidents and highest rate of fatal accidental injury.
No matter if we're 18 or 88, at some point in our lives during a medical crisis roughly 50% of us will likely be unable to speak for ourselves. We might be unconscious, sedated or too ill to make treatment decisions. We'll need another way, or another person,
to communicate our medical treatment wishes.
Are you and everyone in your household over age 18 ready for a medical emergency? Advance care planning helps you get ready. It is the process of thinking about, talking about and documenting your healthcare wishes and priorities before a crisis occurs.
To help Sonoma County residents prepare, My Care My
Plan: Speak Up, Sonoma County is hosting a free advance care planning workshop,
Who Will Speak for You If You Can't Speak
for Yourself?, on Tuesday, July 16,2019 5:30 – 7:30 p.m., at the Sonoma County Dept. of Health Services, 1450 Neotomas Ave., Santa Rosa.
Participants consider the type of care they would want in a health crisis, and how to make their wishes known through thoughtful advance care planning and clear, written, advance health care directives. They’ll learn how to choose someone to speak for you and how to talk
with loved ones and healthcare providers about medical treatment wishes, options and treatment tradeoffs.
There are three ways to register for the free workshop: online at
Events, by phone at (707) 565-5950, or by email to
"We when we talk about advance directives, most of us think of older patients," says Brad Stuart, M.D., Chief Medical Officer of the Washington, D.C. Coalition to Transform Advanced Care. "But it's people who don't have advance directives who make headlines because of conflicts about their medical care. Just think of
Karen Ann Quinlan and Terry Schaivo. They were young and healthy when emergencies struck them down.”
He adds, “It's those situations that illustrate why it's important that every adult write down his or her preferences—so YOU decide how you want to be treated, not the courts."
MSW Taylor McCandless, a medical social worker for Healing At Home, a division of Hospice by the Bay, also warns parents that their legal status regarding medical care for their children changes when a child turns 18.
"Many parents aren't aware that they become 'legal strangers,' meaning they no longer have automatic access to that child's health information," she says. "I had each of my children complete an advance health directive before they launched to college and travels to make sure we wouldn't encounter any excruciating
barriers to information if there were a medical emergency."
Stuart and McCandless will lead the July workshop, designed for anyone over age 18.
My Care, My Plan: Speak Up, Sonoma
MyCareMyPlanSonoma.org) vision is for every adult in the county to become educated and empowered to express his/her wishes about end-of-life care, to have the opportunity to do so, and to have their wishes honored in a medical crisis.
This is an initiative of the Committee for Healthcare Improvement and Sonoma County Health Action, which mobilizes community partnerships and resources to achieve equity and improve health for all in Sonoma County. MCMP is a collaborative of organizations and individuals from the private,
public, nonprofit and volunteer sectors, including local healthcare and social service organizations and other community partners.
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Free Workshop on Advance Care
Who Will Speak for You If You Can't Speak for Yourself?
Tuesday, July 16, 2019 at 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Sonoma County Dept. of Health Services, 1450 Neotomas Ave., Santa Rosa Reservations:
MyCareMyPlanSonoma.org / (707) 565-5950 /
Kris Montgomery | Communications Manager
Sonoma County Human Services Department
(707) 565-8085 (office) | (707) 495-6999 (cell)