By Susan Nelson, MD
On Thursday, Nov. 21, the Louisiana Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment (LaPOST) Coalition will present Conversations Change Lives, a special, complimentary event at which the Greater Lafayette region will be declared ‘LaPOST Ready.’ This event will culminate the second of the LaPOST Ready campaigns, which are designed to increase awareness of, and to provide education about, advance care planning and the LaPOST document to health care professionals, faith-based organizations, social workers and caregivers in targeted areas of Louisiana.
The LaPOST Coalition created and implemented these campaigns to share the message about the importance of advance care planning and the value of sharing end-of-life care goals and treatment preferences with loved ones. According to the Pew Research Center, 71 percent of Americans have thought about what they do and do not want at the end of life, and while 95 percent of Americans know what an advance directive, or ‘living will,’ is, only 29 percent actually have one. The LaPOST Coalition seeks to improve these numbers by providing patients and families, health care professionals, social workers, spiritual leaders and caregivers with information about advance care planning tools in Louisiana.
However, the fact is, advance care planning involves much more than simply deciding what treatments are and are not wanted at the end of life. The process starts with identifying personal care goals, clarifying personal beliefs and values and sharing these preferences with loved ones and health care providers.
Thus, as part of the LaPOST Ready campaign efforts, the LaPOST Coalition and the Louisiana Health Care Quality Forum developed the Conversations Change Lives Toolkit for patients and families. This toolkit includes many wonderful resources for patients and loved ones, including the Conversations Change Lives Guidebook, guides to advance care planning and medical treatments, the LaPOST Consumer Handbook, frequently asked questions, fact sheets and even a PowerPoint presentation that explains the usage of the LaPOST document. This toolkit, as well as a video about LaPOST, is available for free download on theLaPOST website.