LAURINBURG — Scotland Regional Hospice is holding its first Health Care Decision Day from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday at the Dulin Center at the Scotland Memorial Hospital.
The day is to set aside to help people understand the importance of having in writing how medical treatment should be carried out if the individual is no longer able to voice their concerns. These documents not only are beneficial to the families but medical providers as well.
While the day has been recognized nationally for many years, Deon Cranford III, director of public relations for Scotland Regional Hospice Hospice said his organization joined forces with Carolina Center for End of Life Care that encourages hospice chapters to get involved.
The theme for this year is “It always seems too early, until it’s too late.”
“Everybody is invited,” he said. “Don’t wait until it’s too late. Some people wait thinking it’s too early and it can’t be changed. But you can, you have that option later if you have to. You can have an accident today and need. It just doesn’t happen to elderly people.”
Tanya Williams, bereavement coordinator, said that advance care planning should be a priority much earlier in life.
“It’s so important because it’s easier to make these kinds of decisions when you are still healthy. Not only does it give you a peace of mind, but it takes away a tremendous burden from your family and friends. They won’t have to guess what your health care wishes are. Should you become sick, you’ve already told them your wishes and put them down in writing,” she said.
Cranford and his staff and volunteers plan to add a community aspect to the local event.
The North Carolina Bar Association, NC Partnership for Compassionate Care, local attorneys will be on hand to give residents information and tools about written advance directives such as Health Care Power of Attorney and living wills accordance with North Carolina Law. North Carolina residents will be able to do their directives on Saturday, but Cranford said South Carolina residents it will be informational only because of different laws.
Those 18 and older can participate. You must have valid identification.
But there will be bounce houses for the children and continental breakfast style foods. American Red Cross will be on site for a blood drive. Those wanting to donate blood may register ahead of time, but registration is not required.
Firemen from local fire department will be talking about smoke detectors. Officers from the sheriff’s office will be there as well. Other organizations will also have exhibits.
A formal ceremony will be held from 10 to 11 a.m. Guest speakers will include state Rep. Garland Pierce, local author Sharon Maag as well as Williams.
A New Creation Band from Bennettsville and The Cameronian Quartet from Rockingham will provide musical entertainment.
The winner of the Black History Month Scholarship will also be announced on Saturday. Interns with Hospice held an essay writing contest in February for high school students. The winner of the contest will be given a scholarship toward tuition.
Cranford said the Dr. Bethel Award will also be given on Saturday. This award, named for Dr. Bradley Bethel, who served as medical director for Scotland Hospice. The award is given to a hospice employee interested in continuing education.
“For 30 years, our organization has been able to carry out its mission of providing compassionate end of life care to our patients, thanks in large part to the support of this community. We have already put together several programs and events in 2016 that we hope will help support this wonderful community that has been supporting us. We invite everyone to come out, have a little fun and see what we are all about,” said Cranford.
For information about National Healthcare Decisions Day, visit www.nhdd.org. For information about those pro bono workshops statewide visit www.gotplans123.org.
Maria D. Grandy can be reached at 910-506-3171.