Assumption University offers workshop on planning for a health crisis

Four-week course started Tuesday at Adie Knox Herman Recreation Complex

Maria Giannotti is a bio-ethics consultant at Assumption University in Windsor. (Jonathan Pinto/CBC)

A debilitating illness or the end of one’s life is not a topic many like to think about — but a woman in Windsor is on a mission to push the conversation into the mainstream.

Maria Giannotti is a bio-ethics consultant at Assumption University in Windsor. She’s leading a four-week workshop called “Planning for Future Health Care Wishes,” where she’ll teach participants the concept of something called “advance care planning.”

“[It’s] a process of reflection where you think about what’s important to you, you choose someone to make decisions for you when you can’t make decisions for yourself,” she explained.

“We talk about how to have a conversation with your family around advance care planning … how do you have those conversations in a way that’s kind of natural and normal?”

Giannotti leading the first of the four-week workshop at the Adie Knox Herman Recreation Complex on 10 April 2018. (Jonathan Pinto/CBC)

In addition to learning about power of attorney and other related documents, participants receive a booklet where they can record medical information that family can refer to in a time of crisis.

“My experience with family members and patients [is that] they’re being asked these very important life and death questions and they kind of look like deer in headlights,” Giannotti said, explaining that she worked at the regional cancer centre and Hotel Dieu Grace Healthcare for many years. “They’re not sure how to respond, let alone the [medical] jargon.”

“It’s a burden for families to make health care decisions,” Giannotti said. “If they know that that person had this kind of mindset, or ‘this is what they wanted,’ it relieves them of that burden and gives them some peace of mind.”

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