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St. Luke’s Encourages Individuals to Talk about End-of-Life Care
April 13, 2017

Information Available at Several Locations April 16-22

Bethlehem, PA (4/13/17)St. Luke’s University Health Network encourages individuals to make decisions about end-of-life care and to share their wishes with their loved ones and physicians. During National Healthcare Decisions Day the week of April 16-22, St. Luke’s employees will be available on Thursday, April 20, in several locations to provide information and answer questions about advanced directives (see schedule below).

“Our goal is to get people talking about their wishes related to life-sustaining measures, developing a plan, and sharing it with their loved ones,” says St. Luke’s medical social worker Megan Williams, who is organizing the educational event. “By doing so, they can ensure that their wishes would be followed should they ever be unable to communicate for themselves.”

During the National Healthcare Decision Day events, St. Luke’s will provide information about advanced directives, such as living wills.
In addition, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Ellen Goodman will present “The Most Important Conversation America Isn’t Having” at the seventh annual Dr. and Mrs. Max Littner Memorial Lecture Series for Bereavement, co-sponsored by St. Luke’s University Health Network. The event will be held at 7:30 p.m. April 19 at the Central Moravian Church, 73 W. Church St., Bethlehem. Tickets are $10.

Advance directives go into effect only when one cannot understand, make, or communicate wishes for medical choices and has an end-stage medical condition or is permanently unconscious. A living will expresses wishes about life support and other medical treatment. It should cover:
•   What kind of medicine and life support measures are wanted and NOT wanted
•   What comfort measures are desired
•   What medical information can be shared with loved ones

A health care power of attorney names a health care agent – someone the individual trusts to make health care decisions on their behalf should they be unable to do so.
“Having to make a life and death decision for a loved one can be agonizing,” Williams says. “By making an advance directive, you’re letting your loved ones know what you want so they can honor your decision, so they don’t have to make the decision. It’s a gift that you give them.”

Williams suggests that patients bring a copy of their advanced directives with them to the hospital. When hospitalized, a patient is asked whether he or she has an advanced directive. If not, a case manager can meet with the patient and provide information.

“The ideal time to discuss these matters is sitting around the kitchen table, rather than around a hospital bed,” she says. “The decisions made in a clear state of mind might be different than when under stress in a crisis situation.”

For more information, Williams suggests the following websites:

•   National Healthcare Decisions Day 
•   5 Wishes Advance Directive  
•   Advance Directive Booklet 

National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD) exists to inspire, educate and empower the public and providers about the importance of advance care planning. NHDD is an initiative to encourage patients to express their wishes regarding healthcare and for providers and facilities to respect those wishes, whatever they may be. The theme for 2017 is "It Always Seems Too Early, Until It’s Too Late."

St. Luke’s will provide information on Thursday, April 20th at:

•   St. Luke’s University Hospital, 801 Ostrum Street, Bethlehem, Lobby A & B, 1-3 pm
•   St. Luke’s Hospital Allentown Campus, 1736 Hamilton Street, Allentown, Cafeteria, noon-2 pm
•   St. Luke’s Hospital Anderson Campus, 1872 St. Luke’s Boulevard, Easton, Cafeteria, 11 am-1 pm
•   St. Luke’s Hospital Warren Campus, 185 Roseberry Street, Phillipsburg, NJ, Lobby, 1-3 pm
•   St. Luke’s Hospital Quakertown Campus, 1021 Park Avenue, Quakertown, Lobby, 11 am-1 pm
•   St. Luke’s Hospital Miners Campus, 360 West Ruddle Street, Coaldale, Lobby 4:30 to 7:30 pm
•   St. Luke’s Hospital Monroe Campus, 100 St. Luke’s Lane, Stroudsburg, Lobby 11 am-1 pm
•   St. Luke’s VNA, 240 Union Station Plaza, Bethlehem, Staff Kitchen, 11:45 am to 1 pm
•   St. Luke’s Cancer Center, 240 Cetronia Road, Allentown, Lobby, 8:30 am-3:30 pm
•   St. Luke’s Hospice House, 2455 Black River Road, Bethlehem, Lobby, 8:30 am-3:30 pm
•   St. Luke’s Southside Medical Center, 511 East 3rd Street, Bethlehem, 2nd Floor Lobby, 9-11 am
•   St. Luke’s North, 153 Brodhead Road, Bethlehem, Lobby, 9-11 am

About St. Luke’s
Founded in 1872, St. Luke’s University Health Network (SLUHN) is a non-profit, regional, fully integrated and nationally recognized network providing services at seven hospitals and more than 270 outpatient sites. The network’s service area includes Lehigh, Northampton, Carbon, Schuylkill, Bucks, Montgomery, Berks and Monroe counties in Pennsylvania and Warren County in New Jersey. Dedicated to advancing health education, St. Luke’s operates the nation’s oldest School of Nursing and 22 graduate medical educational programs and is considered a major teaching hospital, the only one in the region. In partnership with Temple University, St. Luke’s created the region’s first Medical School. Repeatedly, including 2017, St. Luke’s has earned Truven’s 100 Top Major Teaching Hospital designation as well as 50 Top Cardiovascular program in addition to other honors for clinical excellence. St. Luke’s is a multi-year recipient of the Most Wired award recognizing the breadth of St. Luke’s information technology applications such as electronic medical records, telehealth, online scheduling and pricing information. St. Luke’s is also recognized as one of the state’s lowest cost providers in comparison to major teaching hospitals and other health systems
For more information about St. Luke’s services or to find a physician, call St. Luke’s InfoLink toll-free at 1-866-STLUKES (785-8537) Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm or email us anytime at Info.Link@sluhn.org.