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Mass. Medical Society Offers Information
 on Advance Care Planning

WALTHAM — The Mass. Medical Society is offering free information on advance care planning, the term that describes the planning people are encouraged to do as their health becomes more complicated and as they approach the end of life.

“Planning Ahead: What Are Your Choices?” is a publication produced by physicians of the society’s Committee on Geriatric Medicine and is designed to create awareness about the need for end-of-life planning and provide resources for patients to plan appropriately. It is available online at www.massmed.org/advancecareplanning.

“While a physician’s first duty to patients is to promote wellness and cure and heal,” said Dr. Eric Reines, committee chair and a geriatrician with Element Care in Lynn, “we must acknowledge that death will come, and physicians are increasingly recognizing the value of advance care planning. By creating more awareness and understanding, we hope people will take that important first step in starting a conversation that many people find difficult to begin or avoid entirely.”

The pamphlet, appropriate for everyone over age 18, briefly covers topics such as the healthcare proxy, a document indicating who can make healthcare decisions for someone who is unable to do so, and the MOLST (medical orders for life-sustaining treatment) form, which outlines a person’s preferences for medical care and treatments in the last year of life. Also included is a short description of palliative care, specialized medical attention for those with serious health problems. The brochure is rich with additional resources, as it lists 14 websites, covering various aspects of advance care planning, palliative care, and hospice care.

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