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Hope Hospice to hold forum on end-of-life decisions June 26

'Have conversations when you're healthy enough to have them,' Hospice leaders say

The greatest gift you can give your family is to have open and honest conversations surrounding your wishes about medical treatments as your health declines.

For that reason, Hope Hospice of the Tri-Valley is offering a free, thought-provoking forum from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, June 26, in the Dublin City Council Chambers at 100 Civic Plaza, just off Dublin Boulevard in Dublin,

"Many people avoid end-of-life discussions,and taking proactive steps can help keep you and your loved ones from being blindsided when a medical emergency may occur," said Victoria Emmons, Hope Hospice Chief Executive Officer. "The key is having these conversations when you are healthy enough to have them, not when you are experiencing a health crisis."

Hope Hospice is sponsoring the June 26 forum that includes a screening of the documentary, "Consider the Conversation," followed by a panel discussion by medical and communication experts.

The documentary highlights the American struggle with communication and preparation for the end of life.

"This film inspires and empowers people to make their wishes known," Emmons said. "Hope Hospice is actively participating in 'The Conversation Project,' a nationwide effort that is dedicated to helping people talk about their wishes for end-of-life care. This screening is one of several events we are devoting to this important project."

According to the California HealthCare Foundation, 82% of Californians surveyed said it is important to put their wishes in writing, yet only 23% have actually done it.

Advance directives give individuals control over the health care they receive and the ability to name an "agent" to speak for them if they cannot speak for themselves.

"It is our hope that the community will take to heart the message of this film and speak to their loved ones about their wishes for end-of-life care and complete their advance directives," Emmons added.

The panel discussion that will follow the film will include:

Dr. Maureen Dudgeon, chief medical officer at Hope Hospice, who is board-certified in hospice and palliative medicine and internal medicine. She holds an Master's degree in bioethics. Her experience includes providing inpatient palliative care consultations and outpatient hospice care.

Rhonda Fisher, chief of Patient Care Services at Hope Hospice. She has 27 years of management experience in many healthcare settings, including 12 years in hospice as director of Quality Management.

William Harvey, a certified financial planner with Spectrum Wealth partners. He is a member of the Hope Hospice board of directors.

To make a reservation to attend the June 26 forum, sign on to www.HopeHospice.com/conversation or call (925) 829-8770, ext. 252.

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