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Saturday workshop at church will help guide families in difficult health care decisions

PLANT CITY – As a parish nurse, Barbara Barton sometimes finds families facing some tough health care decisions when a loved one is incapacitated by an accident, illness or a condition such as dementia.

They may have to make such critical calls as whether to put the family member on life support. And it’s best when the patient has made his or her wishes known well ahead of a health care crisis, Barton said.

“If you were in a coma and could not speak for yourself, who would you hope is asked to decide for you? What choices would you want them to make?” said Barton, parish nurse for Trinity United Methodist Church. “The time you want to make the decision is not after an accident or during an illness.”

She plans to make a presentation, entitled, “Why Didn’t Mom Tell Me,” at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at the fellowship hall at the church, 402 W. English St.

She’s holding the workshop as part of the observance of April as national Health Care Decision Month.

She said she will offer advice on how families can prepare for a health care crisis.

“It starts with having the talk with the family and that seems to be the hardest part, just getting the discussion started,” she said. “You need to talk to your family, and find out what they’d like for you to do.”

Barton will go over documents that she recommends to ensure a person’s wishes are followed, including a living will and power of attorney for health care.

There is no charge; for more information, call Trinity United Methodist at (813) 752-9316.

Twitter: @dnicholsonTBO

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