Churches Hosting Community Events About Importance of Completing a Written Advanced Directive

Released July 26, 2017

Consider when you might be too ill or injured to express how you want your medical care handled. Have you have outlined those wishes beforehand so others can respond accordingly?

A written advance directive is a legal document that can help you define your preferences for your end-of-life care. Those who would like to know more about it can attend free community events Thursday, Aug. 10, at 7 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 100 W. Church Circle, Kingsport, and Thursday, Aug. 17, at 7 p.m. at Central Presbyterian Church, 301 Euclid Ave., Bristol, Virginia.

Steven Baumrucker, M.D., Wellmont Health System’s medical director for palliative care and hospice, will provide helpful guidance about the directive during these gatherings. Participants will receive a copy of an advanced directive form and learn the steps needed to complete it.

Wellmont’s parish nurse program has planned the events.

Taking steps now to define your wishes will allow family, friends and health care professionals to have access to them when important decisions need to be made and you cannot convey them.

An advance directive states which treatments you want if you are dying or permanently unconscious and defines reasons you would accept or refuse medical care. This might include use of dialysis or breathing machines and desires about resuscitation, feeding tubes and organ or tissue donation.

“We encourage the community to participate in these events because they will discuss a valuable method for people to share their wishes with their families and medical professionals,” Dr. Baumrucker said. “This process can also prove to be comforting for family members, who will not have to potentially wonder at a stressful time exactly how their loved one would prefer a situation to be handled. An advance directive is a loving way to give everyone peace of mind.”

Dr. Baumrucker is board-certified in family medicine and palliative medicine by the American Board of Family Medicine. He has presented the program on advanced directives at other area churches, including recently at Colonial Heights Christian Church.