Advanced Directives and POLST presented at Lexington

The guests who attended the seminar were very engaged and had excellent questions.

“Have a conversation.”  That was Teri’s number one bit of advice for an audience of thirty-five at the Lexington Senior Living Community recently.

Teri Helton, RN, MSN, FCN is a hospice nurse and educator for Livingston Memorial Visiting Nurse Association & Hospice.  She presented a seminar on Advanced Directives and POLST (Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment) to a riveted and interactive group of people.

“You need to have a conversation, because the person you think you want to have carry out your directives might not be the one who is willing or emotionally able to do so.”  Teri gave examples from her own life.  Who did her mother ask to talk to the hospital nurses after her father had a stroke?  Teri.  Who did her sister call when the paramedics came back four months later when her mother had a heart attack?  Teri.  Otherwise, both would have had the resuscitative treatment they did not want.

Myrtle’s story was an example of what can happen when one does not have a conversation.  After seeing her husband suffer needlessly for the last six weeks of his life on a ventilator in intensive care, she wrote a living will, and then locked it in her desk.  Sometime later, her nephew found her lying on the floor after suffering a brain hemorrhage.  At the hospital, the doctor asked if she had an advanced directive.  He didn’t know.  Nor did her doctor or her daughter know.  They didn’t know because Myrtle did not have a conversation.

The packet of information provided by Livingston included a booklet called “Five Wishes” (one type of Advance Health Care Directive), which helps put in writing one’s personal, emotional and spiritual needs as well as medical wishes.  It is a helpful tool, which enables the conversation with family, friends, and doctor.  It keeps them from having to guess how one wants to be treated.  An Advance Health Care Directive should be completed by anyone 18 or older.

POLST (Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment) gives seriously ill patients more control over their end-of-life care and covers whether to attempt CPR, administer antibiotics and IV fluids, the use of a ventilator, and artificial nutrition by tube.

The guests who attended the seminar were very engaged and had excellent questions.  A complimentary lunch was served on the Promenade deck by the Lexington following the class where the conversation continued.

The Lexington Assisted Living located at 5440 Ralston Street in Ventura has prided itself on providing housing and quality care at affordable prices to seniors for 25 years offering independent living, assisted living and Alzheimer’s/Dementia Care in 113 apartments with gorgeous ocean and mountain views.

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