When the presentation finished one of the attendees pulled Missy Klemin aside. There was a seriousness in her voice, as she told Missy she had to make some hard end of life decisions for a loved one. “She told me after the presentation that she felt at peace regarding some of the choices she made.” Klemin said. It was a simple comment but a definite marker of success for LB Homes in accomplishing their mission.
“I love talking about advance care planning” Missy said, thinking back to her presentation at the Fergus Falls Senior Center on Monday, November 18. Missy has significant experience as a social worker, and providing this presentation was more a fulfillment of her life mission than providing resources for others. “I remember talking to people in the ICU about the decisions they had to make. I just want people to know that these conversations are hard, and if you’re not making these decisions now for yourself, you should at least do it for your loved ones.”
Missy started the presentation with a smile and points of connection to the Fergus Falls community. A resident of Barnsville, Missy lived in Fergus Falls for a period of time before serving as a social worker throughout Minnesota. She is a member of the LB Homes team because of the ministry focus LB Homes carries.
“I could just give you some tools, but advance care planning goes much deeper than that.” Missy started, drawing the table of a dozen people into her presentation. “Let’s talk about the scary things. Once you name those, and your health care team can explain them to you, then it’s not so scary.”
“Making decisions for someone is hard. This will help your loved ones feel more confident that they are doing the right thing and alleviate any guilt.”
— MISSY KLEMIN
One of the more scary topics Missy covered was advance directive. “It’s a legal document that goes into effect only if you are incapacitated and unable to speak for yourself,” Missy said, leaning in as she helped the table move beyond the stigma of the word. “This could be the result of disease or severe injury, no matter how old you are.”
Missy compassionately covered end of life topics as she address many of the fears all people have with dying. She outlined how advance care planning is a huge gift for families, because it removes the feeling of guilt that sometimes is associated with making life and death decisions for loved ones.
She engaged the group, giving them some helpful tips as they think about advance care planning. She encouraged the individuals to explore their own feelings and preferences with their life should they be incapacitated. Some had talked to loved ones already about a plan, but Missy encouraged the entire group to engage the conversation.
Missy paused, preparing to give some specific instructions to her group now that the stigma of end of life conversations was broken. “Write your healthcare directive, and bring it to your healthcare provider.” Missy’s instructions continued. She encouraged the group to reflect on their process as they age. She informed the group that sometimes situations change and circumstances may require an update to the directive.
To frame the conversation, Missy outlined four basic questions for the group to consider. She had them think about what type of care they would prefer for themselves at the end of life. She also encouraged them to think of what type of care they would prefer for their loved ones at the end of their life. She asked the group where they would prefer to pass away. Then, Missy called the group to think through what their views are of life support, hospice, and comfort care, pushing them to think when they are appropriate and whether or not they would like to use the services.
In closing their time together Missy urged the group to put their wishes in writing. Talking about it is important, and making one’s desires known is the first step. But when a directive is in writing it provides freedom for loved ones. “Making decisions for someone is hard,” Missy stated. This will help your loved ones feel more confident that they are doing the right thing and alleviate any guilt.”
For more information on advance directive planning, contact Missy Klemin at LB Homes at firstname.lastname@example.org