Free Medical Living Wills offered at community center
El Paso — The El Paso County Attorney’s office, University Medical Center, and the Housing Authority of the City of El Paso (HACEP) joined forces Wednesday, offering free Advance Medical Directives (living wills) and medical Powers of Attorney to the public.
The event was held at the Chelsea Community Room, kicking off National Healthcare Decisions Day, a national initiative educating the public about the importance of advance care planning.
El Paso County Attorney Joanne Bernal, said, “A living will is a legally binding document and it allows a person - an adult - to make advanced medical decisions at a time when you're healthy and competent. And not wait until there's a medical crisis."
She added that the team will offer free events like the one on Wednesday once a month throughout the year. Bernal said they will be held in different parts of El Paso at HACEP community centers.
She also said that there is no need to hire an attorney or get a notary for a living will. Anyone who wants to get a living will immediately can download the document and have two witnesses sign it.
The Advance Medical Directives form is available at this link:
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LOCAL ORGANIZATIONS UNITE TO OFFER FREE ASSISTANCE TO EXECUTE "MEDICAL WILLS"
El Paso County Attorney's Office and the University Medical Center of El Paso are partnering with the Housing Authority of the City of El Paso (HACEP) to promote the use of Advance Medical Directives ("medical wills") in the community, particularly among the beneficiaries of public housing programs in El Paso County. The pilot program was created in support of National Healthcare Decisions Day (April 16) a national initiative to inspire, educate and empower the public about the importance of advance care planning.
The program's kick-off ceremony will take place on Wednesday, April 16, 2014, at 9:30 a.m. in the Community Room of the Chelsea Community, 600 Chelsea St.
Following the kick-off ceremony, from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., attorneys from the County Attorney's Office, and volunteers from the University Medical Center will be offering free assistance regarding advance care planning and advance directive forms. All residents of El Paso County are encouraged to come and get assistance drafting their advance directives forms.
Advance directives are legal documents that allow you to convey your decisions about end-of-life care ahead of time. They provide a way for you to communicate your wishes to family, friends, and health care professionals, and to avoid confusion later on.
A Directive to Physicians or Living Will tells how you feel about care intended to sustain life. You can accept or refuse medical care. There are many issues to address, including:
· The use of dialysis and breathing machines
· If you want to be resuscitated if breathing or heartbeat stops
· Tube feeding
· Organ or tissue donation
· Blood transfusions
A Medical Power of Attorney allows individuals to designate someone they trust to make health decisions if they are unable to do so.
As part of the program, the participating organizations will host similar events every month at different HACEP locations around El Paso. The events are open to the general public.