Gather your family to "Talk Turkey"
With families around the country gathering for Thanksgiving, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has decided to seize on this opportunity by designating the Friday after the holiday as "Massachusetts' Advance Directive Day." BIDMC has its own version of this campaign called "Talk Turkey." The idea is to educate staff, patients, and families visiting the medical center about the importance of filling out a proxy form or advance directive with loved ones.
"This is not for older people or end of life care," says Stephen O'Neill, LICSW, Social Work Manager for Psychiatry and Primary Care and Director of Ethics Support Service. "Anybody should have a proxy who is over the age of 18."
The Talk Turkey campaign, launched in 1999, is jointly sponsored by the Department of Social Work and Ethics Support Service. To help facilitate this conversation with family members, health care proxy forms in multiple languages and other advance directives materials will be distributed at the East and West campus cafeterias, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Nov. 15, 16 and 19.
The materials handed out during Talk Turkey include an explanation of what completing an advance directive means and who should be chosen as your health care proxy or agent. O'Neill says sometimes choosing the person closest to you, like your spouse, is not always the best decision. "You want your health care agent to carry out your wishes," O'Neill says. "But sometimes they love you so much that they can't do what you want."
Once you complete your proxy form, O'Neill recommends making several copies of it so that you, your health care proxy or agent and your primary care physician all have it on file. Anyone interested in more information about Let's Talk Turkey can contact the Ethics Support Service Office at (66)7-3095 or email Chanel Bryant at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or, for more information about advance directive planning, click here.