Sharon SullivanGrand Junction Free PressStaff Writer

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April 7, 2011
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Free advance care planning session offered

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - Grand Junction proclaimed Monday as National Health Care Decisions Day, urging all citizens to make their health care wishes known through advance care planning for managing a serious illness, or end-of-life care. Living wills and advance directives are documents that spell out your wishes if you should become incapacitated due to a medical crisis.Millions of people began filling out living wills and advance directives after the 1976 Supreme Court case of Karen Ann Quinlan, whose parents battled with hospital staff who sought to keep Quinlan alive through artificial means, even though she had lapsed into a vegetative state and doctors had determined she would never recover. The Supreme Court eventually ruled in the parents favor, who said they wanted Karen to die with "grace and dignity."People who make their wishes known in advance can avoid situations like Quinlan's, and that of another woman - Terri Schiavo - who suffered a cardiac arrest, that led to a vegetative state lasting 15 years before her mechanical life support system was removed.The Mesa County Advance Care Planning Task Force, a group of local organizations, is offering "Medical Decision Making in Colorado" workshops on how to plan for end-of-life care, Thursday and Saturday, April 14 and 16. The sessions are free.The sessions will include communicating end-of-life wishes to loved ones, and how to appoint a health care power of attorney. There will also be new information regarding living wills and other advance directive documents.St. Mary's Hospital is hosting Thursday's session, and Hospice and Palliative Care of Western Colorado will host the Saturday workshop. Light refreshments will be provided.Limited seating is available and reservations are required by calling Western Colorado 2-1-1.

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The Post Independent Updated Apr 7, 2011 10:46PM Published Apr 7, 2011 10:45PM Copyright 2011 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.