Palliative Care NSW Volunteer Support Services Programme

Volunteers and care planning in Colorado

Like many jurisdictions the US state of Colorado has and is working towards a better end of life support for residents through the development of plans expressed by the client about their wishes for treatment at the end of life.

Writing about the role lawyers play in the planning process Grant Marylander and Jean Abbott note that a plan may focus on rigid rules, such as which procedures are and are not desired, sometimes to the exclusion of valuable information about the client’s values and wishes:

“Clients who take an inventory of their values and wishes for end-of-life care as part of their planning process are more likely to provide meaningful direction …encouraging discussions and documenting values and wishes as part of the advance medical directive process provides a safeguard against unwanted treatments or undermining patient autonomy during terminal or critical illnesses.”1

In Colorado a new initiative involving local hospice volunteers will train and accredit volunteers to help with these values discussions. Under new program funding the Denver Hospice will recruit and train a volunteer workforce to facilitate and promote quality conversations about values.

The two-year program will launch early 2017, engaging the community and certifying volunteers. A key component of this program is to focus on quality communication in addition to proper use of documents.

Read the original story in eHospice for more information and links.

1 Marylander G & Abbott J (2015) The Lawyer’s Role in End-of-Life Planning-Moving Beyond Advance Medical Directives, The Colorado Lawyer, July 2015 44(7) p101-105

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