August 13, 2020
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Free Advance Care Planning workshop Jan. 15

December 28, 2018

Start your year with peace of mind: Resolve to complete your advance health care directive pronto! That way, your priorities will guide treatment decisions should you have a medical emergency. For even greater peace of mind, get your friends and family to complete theirs, too.  Everyone over age 18 needs an advance health care directive. Accidents and ill health occur at any age, and roughly 50% of us are likely to be unable to speak for ourselves in a future medical situation. Advance care planning is the process of thinking about, talking about, and documenting your healthcare wishes and priorities—before a crisis occurs.  

To help residents prepare, My Care My Plan: Speak Up, Sonoma County will host a free advance care planning workshop, Who Will Speak for You If You Can’t Speak for Yourself? on Tuesday, January 15, 2-4 p.m., at Partnership HealthPlan, 495 Tesconi Circle, Santa Rosa. Register online at under Events, by phone at (707) 565-5950, or by email to  

“One of the goals of hospice care is to enhance the quality of life, surrounding our loved ones with love, comfort, and care,” says Nina Arbour, Community Relations and Volunteer Services Manager, Hospice Services of St. Joseph Health. “Advance care planning gives each of us an opportunity to influence and guide how we define our quality of life as time progresses. Ideally, we take up this process at age 18.”“The ongoing dialogue in our family generated by advance care planning has had benefits beyond my expectations,” adds Taylor McCandless, MSW, home health Medical Social Worker with Healing at Home, a division of Hospice by the Bay. “Now we have three generations of family members talking about what is important to them.”  

Arbour and McCandless will lead the January workshop, designed for anyone over age 18. 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. The presenters will also offer ideas for how to talk with family, loved ones, and healthcare providers about medical treatment options, tradeoffs, and wishes.

My Care, My Plan: Speak Up, Sonoma County’s ( 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 mobilize 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.