LARGO – Project GRACE, an affiliate of Suncoast Hospice and its family of programs, and Diagnostic Clinic recently established the Life Planning Center, located in Diagnostic Clinic’s Largo office, 1301 Second Ave. SW.
The center is designed to encourage patients and families to consider having conversations about healthcare decisions and options, complete and sign advance directive forms and share them with family members and health care providers. Their doctors refer patients for consultations at the center.
For years, people have been advised to let their families and health care providers know what medical care and procedures they want or do not want, should they ever become unable to speak for themselves. Still, many individuals put off discussing advance care planning with their families and delay putting their preferences in writing. In today’s changing health care climate, doctors are encouraged – even evaluated – regarding whether they discuss advance care planning with patients.
“We are so pleased to partner with Project GRACE in what I believe is the first such endeavor of its kind,” said Dr. James Rivenbark in a press release. Rivenbark is chief medical and operations officer at Diagnostic Clinic. “The Life Planning Center benefits patients and families by encouraging open, frank discussions, providing advance care planning forms and helping to sort out care options. Our doctors appreciate being able to offer this service to our patients.”
Diagnostic Clinic patients are invited to meet with Project GRACE representatives at the Life Planning Center, learn about advance care planning and take forms home with them as a basis for discussion.
“We offer information and guidance about living wills, choosing a healthcare surrogate and other considerations,” said Rafael J. Sciullo, president and CEO of Suncoast Hospice. “Advance care planning allows individuals to make their own decisions and provide a wonderful road map for families when questions about care options arise and patients may not be able to speak for themselves.”