Advance care planning is a challenging, but extremely important, topic to discuss with loved ones. Whether it’s regarding your own wishes or those of a loved one, a discussion about the level of care someone may want if unable to speak for themselves can be emotional.
Melanie Culuko, a senior human resources analyst with the City of Chula Vista, is grateful for her own parents’ meticulous planning. The thoughtful conversations they held, though sometimes uncomfortable, allowed Melanie to fully understand their wishes and guide her decision-making related to the care they should receive if their health declined.
“When my parents became ill, I could refer to their written advance directives to see what type of care they would and would not have wanted,” Melanie says. “Helping them live out their days with respect, and focus on my own grieving, rather than having to make tough decisions in the moment, was invaluable.”
Melanie’s appreciation for her parents’ planning and the care they received from Sharp HospiceCare inspired her to share information with her colleagues. Together with Teressa Vaughn, an advance care planning facilitator with Sharp HospiceCare, she organized trainings for employees, volunteers and their family members to help them begin the conversation about advance care planning and creating an advance health care directive.
Sharp HospiceCare team members offer the classes throughout Chula Vista, including at the police station, City Hall and senior centers. The free trainings are open to anyone; professional notary services are provided at no cost to finalize participants’ advance directives.
“I wanted everyone to have the positive experience I did,” Melanie says. “I am so lucky my parents did this for me. It brings a tremendous amount of comfort to know I gave my parents what they wanted. It was a gift that will stay with me forever and I am so happy we can share it with others.”
Advance planning classes are just one of the ways in which Sharp HealthCare works to support the well-being of the San Diego community. Sharp contributed more than $437 million in unreimbursed community benefit in fiscal year 2018, including unreimbursed medical care; health-related education, training and research; and medical transportation services for underserved populations. Learn more about Sharp’s work in the community.