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Thank you to our sponsors for helping adults in all our communities Plan in Place and access care and support!

6th Annual April Healthcare Decisions Month

—  Let's Plan in Place and help each other to ensure that—

"Wellness Happens in the Community"

Help adults take charge of their health decisions and access needed care and support!

health care discussions

Every Spring, the Honoring Choices Partners come together around a shared goal of helping adults make a personal health care plan and connect to good care over their lifetime.  Our theme this year — Wellness Happens in the Communitytakes on a deeper, more urgent meaning due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.  Instead of hosting in-person events, our Partners are helping adults to "Plan in Place" and access needed care and support in their community.

Let's Plan in Place to-

  1. Stay Informed & Be Prepared
  2. Make a Personal Health Care Plan
  3. Help Meet the Need in Your Community

Our Partners, many of whom are on the front lines of this epidemic, offer the latest information, tools and resources. View Tools & Resources listed below

Stay Informed & Be Prepared

Staying healthy is at the top of everyone’s list. Stay informed with the fast-changing, up to date information —

  • MA Dept. of Public Health Coronavirus website. Link Here; or Call "211" for information.
  • Center for Disease Control webpage. Link Here
  • Healthcentric Advisors offers key information for Medicare beneficiaries. Link Here.
  • Check with your town government for information and local resources

Be Prepared. Make a “In Case of Illness”. Here are questions:

  • Who should I call first if I have symptoms of coronavirus?
  • What resources are available in my town or community?
  • What's our family/friend plan to stay well and communicate with each other?

Make a Health Care Plan

Hispanic mother and daughter

1. Who's Your Agent?

Choose a Health Care Agent in a Health Care Proxy.

signing a Personal Directive

2. What Matters Most?

Write down your care choices in a Personal Directive.

Talking to a doctor.

3. Talk About Your Care.

Talk with your care providers to match care to your choices.

It's simple to do with our signature Who's Your Agent?® program, which offers the Getting Started Tool Kit to start to make your plan, and Next Steps Tool Kit, to build on your plan over your lifetime. You can do-it-yourself or help a friend or family member make a plan. 

It's a good time to make a plan. Start by choosing a Health Care Agent. Your Agent has the power to make health care decisions for you, if you are unable to make decisions yourself, and get you the care you need while you recover. Once you have completed the documents below, be sure to email, mail, fax a copy to your Health Care Agent, family members, and primary care physician's office.

The Getting Started Tool Kit makes planning as easy as 1-2-3:

  1. Who's Your Agent?  Appoint a trusted person as your Health Care Agent in a MA Health Care Proxy.  No Agent? No Problem- just start with Step 2;
  2. What Matters Most?  Write down your instructions for care in a MA Personal Directive (Living Will);
  3. Let's Talk About My Care. Talk with your clinicians, using the 5 Things to Talk About discussion guide, to get good care everyday.

Download a free The Getting Started Tool Kit

Download Translated Health Care Proxy & Personal Directive

View the Next Steps Tool Kit

Reach To Your Community

Kindness, humanity and safe connection can go a long way towards improving health and well-being. In this important time of social or physical distancing to keep ourselves and each other healthy, we can still reach to a neighbor, a co-worker, or a community member to stay connected. Here are some thoughts:

  • Check In. Just a simple hello by email, text or by phone can help lift the feelings of isolation or helplessness;
  • Share a meal. For some shopping may be difficult; for others a reliable food source a concern as businesses close. Consider dropping off a meal or ordering take out to be delivered safety at the door. You can also check with your local food back about donating food or making a financial contribution. See details in Tools & Resources below.
  • Connect with adults most at risk. Check in with adults with chronic and serious illness to see if they have a supply of their regular medications and can still access vital services and treatments. Help connect adults to needed resources by phone, if needed.
  • Share your appreciation. Our first responders, front-line doctors, nurses, and home care staff are working around the clock to be there for you and your community. Take a moment to express your thanks.

See Tools & Resources listed below

Tools & Resources: Meet the Need in Your Community

Our Partner's kicked- off early spring by hosting in-person events.  As of March, we moved to a "Plan in Place" focus, highlighting the latest information and resources to help adults stay informed and reach to care and services in their community. Share your news and we'll post it here for the Honoring Choices network of consumers and care providers.

To post: Email us with a short description, and if applies with a link to more information. Send to Ellen, edipaola@honoringchoicesmass.com

March-April: "Plan in Place"

Make Your Plan: It's as easy as 1-2-3!

3 steps of Whos Your Agent program
It's a good time to make a plan.

You can do-it-yourself with the Getting Started Tool Kit. Start by choosing a Health Care Agent. Your Agent has the power to make health care decisions for you if you are unable to make decisions yourself. Your Agent can get you the care you need, even for a short while you recover. Be sure to mail or fax a copy of your completed documents to your Agent and primary care physician.

The Getting Started Tool Kit makes planning as easy as 1-2-3:

  1. Who's Your Agent?  Appoint a trusted person as your Health Care Agent in a MA Health Care Proxy.  No Agent? No Problem- start with Step 2;
  2. What Matters Most?  Write down your instructions for care in a MA Personal Directive (Living Will);
  3. Let's Talk About My Care. Talk with your clinicians, using the 5 Things to Talk About discussion guide, to get good care everyday.

Download a free The Getting Started Tool Kit

Download Translated Health Care Proxy & Personal Directive

¿Quién es su Apoderado? - Plan in Place with translated planning documents

Icon of health care agent flexing muscle Virtually reach to all adults and families in your community.

Our bi-lingual Partners offer culturally sensitive conversations by asking ¿Quién es su Apoderado? (Who's Your Agent?),  and using our Spanish Health Care Proxy and Personal Directive to help adults make a plan.

Additionally, Honoring Choices has  translated Health Care Proxy (9 languages), Personal Directive (Living Will) (3 languages), and wallet cards. Let us know how we can tailor and translate tools to empower adults to choose a Health Care Agent and give their Agent the power to advocate for quality care that aligns with an individual's culture, beliefs, goals and care choices.  View the translated documents for free download here. Contact Ellen for more information, edipaola@honoringchoicesmass.com

Cake provides a Plan in Place option: Create & Store Documents On-Line!

CAKE logo

Cake has is an easy way to make your own plan on-line and document end of life care choices & preferences.

Here's how it works:

  • Create your own free personal account
  • View and download the Honoring Choices Health Care Proxy and Personal Directive and complete online, OR
  • Upload your completed documents to your personal account
  • Access the Cake cards to create your own profile of end of life choices and preferences to store and share

Expanded Telehealth Benefits for Medicare Beneficiaries

The federal government announced expanded Medicare telehealth coverage that will enable beneficiaries to receive a wider range of healthcare services from their doctors without having to travel to a healthcare facility. Read the press release, frequently asked questions, and fact sheet. Thanks to Honoring Choices Alliance Partner Healthcentric Advisors for keeping Massachusetts and the New England states up to date on ever evolving critical information.

More information here.

Tips for Dementia Caregivers from the Alzheimer's Association

Alzheimer's Association logo"Most likely, dementia does not increase risk for COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the new coronavirus, just like dementia does not increase risk for flu. However, dementia-related behaviors, increased age and common health conditions that often accompany dementia may increase risk", says a great new posting from the Alzheimer's Association, and Honoring Choices Alliance Partner.  Our Partners are reporting concerns with physical distancing while helping adults stay connected. Here are tools and resources on their new webpage:

Adults, family and caregivers can call the 24/7 Helpline : 1 800 272-3900

Read the full webpage here.

Share A Meal: Donate to Community Food Banks

During this public health emergency,  adults in your town, city or community may not have a reliable healthy food source. Consider making a food or financial donation to your local food pantry or food bank. Please call ahead to see if they are accepting food donations. Here are other resources to support with a financial contribution:

  • State List of Local Food Banks. Link
  • The Greater Boston Food Bank. Link
  • Project Bread. Link
  • Boston Medical Center Food Bank. Link

Thank you to Tufts Health Plan Foundation for supporting food banks and community services. See next section below.

 

Tufts Health Plan Foundation supports greater food access duirng Covid-19

Tufts Health Plan Foundation has identified the first 21 organizations to receive support from the $1 million it has committed to community efforts on behalf of older people affected by coronavirus in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Connecticut. Their first wave of funding directly helps address food insecurity in our communities.

Here are the Massachusetts organizations who received funding, and who are diligently working on the front lines to improve food access during the Covid-19 health crisis:

  • The Boston Foundation, COVID-19 Response Fund
  • The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts
  • The Greater Boston Food Bank
  • Union Capital Boston, COVID-19 Fund
  • Watertown Community Foundation, Community Resilience Fund
  • Watertown Food Pantry (via Watertown Council on Aging)
  • Worcester County Food Bank

Read more here

Meeting the Community Need at HESSCO

HESSCO, an Honoring Choices Community Partner,  is an Aging Services Access Point (ASAP) and Area Agency on Aging (AAA) for South Norfolk County. They serve consumers in Canton, Dedham, Norwood, Foxboro, Westwoood, Medfield, Millis, Norfolk, Plainview, Sharon, Walpole, Wrentham.

HESSCO is continuing to provide essential programs since Governor Baker announced a Stay at Home Advisory for Massachusetts. They are helping ensure that our most vulnerable older adults receive vital care and services, such as:

  • Meals on Wheels, which delivers hot meals Monday-Friday;
  • In-Home Care Program, proving supports and services;
  • Caregiver Specialist phone consultation, to support family caregivers.

GOOD NEWS: They can accommodate new referrals to Meals on Wheel and In-Home Care Program. Call 781-784-4944.

HESSCO is having an outpouring of support for volunteers at the ready to deliver meals or critical supplies. Consider volunteering or making a monetary donation to help them cope with this pandemic. Read more here 

 

Engage High-Risk Adults in Proactive Planning Conversations with Respecting Choices Tools

Just in time! Respecting Choices® Offers Suite of Open-Source Care Planning Tools in Response to COVID-19

Respecting Choices logoPeople who are considered high-risk for coronavirus-related complications are feeling especially vulnerable. Respecting Choices has developed a toolkit for clinicians to engage in proactive conversations about treatment preferences before a medical crisis. There are also tools for consumers and Health Care Agents. The Respecting Choices® COVID-19 tools and resources below will support these important conversations. They are currently free and open to all based on the Creative Common License.

For Clinicians:

For Individuals and Health Care Agents

Tools to support specific treatment decisions in high risk individuals

Click here to see the full suite of tools, information and  guides.

 

Care Dimensions: Empowering adults & families

Months of April, May, June

“Timing is Everything“ and  “Living Forever- Not an Option”; Learning Institute's Free Resources.

Hosted by Care Dimensions

For consumers and care providers.  Care Dimensions will feature the Honoring Choices programs and tools on their cable show “Timing is Everything “ and their podcast “Living Forever- Not an Option” to empower adults to make a plan and reach out for good care.  Care Dimensions just launched their  Learning Institute to deliver education, workshops and resources on end-of-life topics such as hospice and palliative care, bereavement, advance care planning, and living with advanced illness. Whether you are a patient with a life-limiting illness, the loved one of a patient, a caregiver, a grieving family or a health care provider, you can  learn more and view resources. Read more here.

"Pastries & Planning"- Show your appreciation!

National Health Care Decisions month is celebrated by care providers Here's an idea for your staff who are first responders, nurses, doctors, social workers and care managers working shifts to keep us all well and healthy.

Take a moment to safely provide some food — whether its pastries, pizza, or potluck dinner — and planning tools so everyone can make their own personal health care plan.

Download the Getting Started Tool Kit here

"What's in Your Plan?" at South Shore Hosptial

April 6, 2020, 12Noon-1pm

South Shore Health, 55 Fogg Road, Weymouth, MA

Hosted by South Shore Hosptial, in Library

For Clinicians and Providers: Come join a free presentation to learn how to make a personal health care plan using the 5 Massachusetts planning documents. Attendees will receive a free  Getting Started Tool Kit which includes a MA Health Care Proxy and Personal Directive(Living Will). You can make your own plan and help your patients and families start to make a plan! Contact Laurie Reagan, Library for more information.

"Pizza & Proxy Party" with the Walpole Council on Aging & Friends- On HOLD

 

April 9th, 2020, 5:00 PM- ON HOLD
Walpole Cooperative Bank South Street Center
60 South Street, Walpole
Register by calling 508-668-3330

Hosted by Walpole COA;  Co-sponsored by HESSCO, Edelweiss Village

For Adults & Families. Honoring Choices Partners and Friends are inviting their community members to share a slice a pizza and start to make a personal health care plan. Participants will receive a Getting Stated Tool Kit which includes a free MA Health Care Proxy and Personal Directive(Living Will) to write down their care choices, and the "5 Things to Talk About" guide to start planning conversations with their health care providers. Please call  508-668-3330 to reserve your seat.

"Ambassador Workshop for Independant Living Centers" with MA Rehabilitation Commission

April 10, 2020, 10:00-11:30am, Fall River, MA

Health Care Planning Ambassador Workshop,  Independent Living Centers

For MRC staff. The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC) helps individuals with disabilities to live and work independently. MRC provides comprehensive services that maximize quality of life and economic self-sufficiency, while promoting equality, empowerment and independence of individuals with disabilities. Anna Hermann, Independent Living Programs Supervisor, is hosting an Ambassador Workshop for Independent Living Centers Care Coordinators to confidently start planning conversations  and help ensure all adults can make a personal health care plan and receive care that honors their care choices.  Read more about MRC here.

"Healthcare Planning Throughout Your Life" with Mass Health & Hospital Association

Patient Care Link logoMonths of April- May, year round

For everyone! Patient Care Link provides a wealth of health care & safety information for hospitals & home care for patients, families and health care providers.  Click here to learn how to:

  • "Empower Patients to Make Health Care Choices";
  • "Care for Patients with Alzheimer's Disease";
  • "Start a Palliative Care Discussion";
  • Explore topics and tools that advance healthcare quality and safety.

PatientCareLink is a joint venture of the Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association (MHA)Organization of Nurse Leaders of MA, RI, NH, CT, VT (ONL),  Home Care Alliance of Massachusetts (HCA) and Hospital Association of Rhode Island (HARI). Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association (MHA) and Home Care Alliance of Massachusetts (HCA) are Honoring Choices Partners. We proudly support their work in helping all adults make a health care plan and access quality care all through their lives.

Covid-19 and Advanced Care Planning, with the MA Coalition for Serious Illness Care

Communicating with the Public about COVID-19 and Advance Care Planning (ACP)

Massachusetts Coalition for Serious Illness Care (Coalition) is working with local and national partners to provide public messaging guidance to support appropriate advance care planning at this time and create a consistent set of language for organizations to draw from. They invite everyone to use the following messaging and social media posts in your work, adapt as needed and share with others in your network.

Here's the LINK to their tool kit

 

The Conversation Project: Start a conversation about what matters most.

The Conversation Project Tool Kits help adults talk about end of life care and what matters most. We combined our tools this year so adults can:

Learn more. Joint initiative with The Conversation Project.

Be healthy and live well in your community, with Age -and Dementia Friendly MA

MA Age and Dementia FriendlyEvery town & city, business and employer can improve the way adults stay healthy and live well in their community. We've combined tools with our Age-and Dementia Friendly MA partners so you can:

Learn More. Joint initiative with Age -and Dementia Friendly MA

 

Palliaitve Care COVID-19 Response Resources from CAPC

Center to Advance Palliative Care, CAPC, is providing a free tool kit and great resources in response to Covid-19, and has made online courses available to the public. CAPC is also collecting best practices and tools from palliative care team . Let them know how you are helping adults and families in your community.

The tools and resources include:

Click here to read more.

May Events- Tentatively Scheduled

"What's in Your Plan?" at the Norfolk Council on Aging

Photo of Health Care AmbassadorsMay 13, 2020, 2:00pm- 3:00pm

Make a plan with the Getting Started Tool Kit

Hosted by Norfolk Council on Aging/Senior Center

For Community Members.  The Norfolk Senior Center hosts our popular What's in Your Plan? community presentation. All adults receive an easy to use Getting Started Tool Kit that includes a Health Care proxy to  to appoint an Health Care Agent, and  a Personal Directive (Living Will)  to give their Agent instructions for care, and a handy discussion guide to talk with health care providers to get the care improve health and well-being. 

"Pizza and Planning" at the Westwood Council on Aging

June 1, 2020, 12:00 Noon- 1:30pm

Make a plan with the Getting Started Tool Kit

Westwood Council on Aging, 60 Nahatan St., Westwood, Ma 02090

Signups start on May 1st. RSVP’s appreciated, please call 781-329-8799

Hosted by Westwood Council on Aging; Sponsor Edelweiss VIllage

For Community Members. The Westwood Council on Aging, an Honoring Choices Partner,  is teaming up with sponsor Edelweiss Village in West Roxbury, to invite the community to share a slice of pizza and learn about starting a personal health care plan. Participants will receive a “Getting Started Tool Kit” which includes a free MA Health Care Proxy and Personal Directive (Living Will), as well as a guide called “5 Things to Talk About” to assist with conversations with health care providers.