Northern Colorado Medical Society funds advance-care planning program

GREELEY — The Northern Colorado Medical Society is funding an initiative to offer information on advance-care planning to its 800-plus member physicians and their staffs in Larimer and Weld counties.

The Greeley-based medical society is providing $10,000 to the nonprofit Systems of Care Initiative Inc. in Greeley to provide a program to encourage and assist physicians and their staffs in having conversations with their patients about end-of-life wishes and advance-care directives.

Advance-care planning helps people prepare for future medical needs while they are still able to make decisions. A key part is preparing an advance-care directive, a legal document that is used when a person can’t communicate or is unwilling to speak for themselves.  

The society said people in Colorado should have a medical durable power of attorney because the state does not have a default medical decision-maker provided by law.

According to a statement by the medical society, most people assume that if they are in an accident, their spouse or parent will be their medical decision-maker, but that is not the case in Colorado, where any “interested” party is allowed input into medical decisions for an incapacitated patient. A medical power of attorney allows the patient’s designated person to to be the only one making medical decisions for that patient.  

Advance-care directives also include living wills, a CPR directive — which states wishes for care in the case of cardiopulmonary arrest —  as well as ways to age with dignity.

This initiative is intended to increase awareness of advance-care planning, encourage and facilitate a cultural change in the community such that having discussions about end-of-life decisions are normal, comfortable and a routine part of health care.

The society has set a goal of having 70 percent of people in the community who are 18 and older complete advance-care directives.

Systems of Care Initiative’s board of directors has representatives from Banner Health, UCHealth, the Health District of Northern Larimer County, Northern Colorado IPA, Family Medicine Center and Telligen.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>