15th Annual RWC Workshop Focuses on Planning for the Future

Voyages Program on April 20 Recognizes National Healthcare Decisions Day

national healthcare decisions dayFor the 15th consecutive year, Rappahannock Westminster-Canterbury will recognize National Healthcare Decisions Day with its popular Voyages Workshop, this year to be held 8:30 a.m. - 2 p.m. April 20.

Focusing on the planning decisions we need to make as we age, this workshop is free and open to the public. RWC Coordinator of Resident Life Services Maria Ferrand, Director of Social Services Alice Coates and RWC Chaplain Rev. Greg Houck, along with Cynthia Barrick from Riverside Hospice and Paul Welch with Welch Funeral Home, will present information and questions to consider to ensure affairs are put in order.

“Voyages was designed to create awareness and discuss advance care planning choices regarding legal, medical, social and spiritual issues,” Houck said. “We all face these choices, but it becomes even more important as we age. This setting provides the group an opportunity for an intimate discussion about these often difficult to talk about topics.”

The workshop, to be held in the Chesapeake Center Auditorium on RWC’s campus, 132 Lancaster Dr., Irvington, includes a complimentary breakfast and lunch. However, reservations are required by April 17 by calling RWC at 438-4000.

While helping bring awareness to life care planning, Ferrand said she’s always surprised to find out how many people still haven’t executed an advance directive.

Coates said, “State and federal laws about advance directives were all generated because of unexpected medical events that occurred to people, such as the nationally publicized case of Terri Schiavo, who were under 60 years old.”

Workshop participants leave with a binder of information, a copy of the presentations, back-up materials and a bibliography of resources – books, websites, etc., with more details.

Because the workshop is conducted in a group setting, the atmosphere is upbeat and positive, not ominous. RWC staff members use good humor to discuss the realities ahead.

“We try to make it as interactive as we can,” Coates said. “But it’s important that we convey the message that it always seems too early until it’s too late. You need to plan in advance before the crisis hits and think about what kind of medical care and treatment you want and then communicate that to your family and caregivers.”

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