In 2016 MCM embarked on our Interfaith ACP initiative.
The original group consisted of 5 different faith/outreach groups. Since their inception, these groups have been instrumental in educating their communities and facilitating ACP conversations. They have been very successful in helping their fellow members create an Advance Directive (AD) that
fits their beliefs, and share their directives with the medical community through the Great Lakes Health Connect Virtual Integrated Patient Record (VIPR). This year we were pleased to welcome First United Methodist Church (First Church), a 184 year-old faith community in the Heartside District. Their inclusive community includes 900+ members with 350 regular attenders. They also provide contracted Chaplain Services to the Clark Retirement Community. Clark has been a long-time supporter of ACP services for their residents.
The Methodist Book of Resolutions includes a section on faithful care for persons suffering death and dying. These tenets include preparing for one’s own death and the concept that patients deserve the truth, are entitled to shared decision-making, and may refuse nourishment and medical care. While their faith affirms life, they believe that relief of suffering versus simply prolonging life is an acceptable goal.
In their first year of ACP programming, the group of 4 trained First Steps® ACP facilitators hosted numerous ACP education events, reaching 43% of their regular attender population. As a result, 10% of those who attended events went ahead and completed and uploaded their AD! They have more members “in process” and are busily planning events for 2020. Lessons learned included regular follow-up with those who have asked for information and the importance of keeping ACP in front of people. The facilitators especially appreciated learning various approaches for information sharing from their interfaith facilitator colleagues.
Would you like your community to join the ACP Interfaith effort?