Largo – Project GRACE (an affiliate of Suncoast Hospice and its family of programs) and Diagnostic Clinic have established the Life Planning Center. The center is designed to encourage patients and families to consider having conversations about healthcare decisions and options, complete and sign advance directive forms and share them with family members and health care providers. The Life Planning Center is in Diagnostic Clinic’s Largo location 1301 2nd Ave. SW. Patients are referred for consultations at the center by their doctors.
For years, people have been advised to let their families and health care providers know what medical care and procedures they want or do not want, should they ever become unable to speak for themselves. Still, many individuals put off discussing advance care planning with their families and delay putting their preferences in writing. In today’s changing health care climate, doctors are encouraged – even evaluated – regarding whether they discuss advance care planning with patients.
Dr. James Rivenbark, chief medical and operations officer at Diagnostic Clinic, said, “We are so pleased to partner with Project GRACE in what I believe is the first such endeavor of its kind. The Life Planning Center benefits patients and families by encouraging open, frank discussions, providing advance care planning forms and helping to sort out care options. Our doctors appreciate being able to offer this service to our patients.”
Diagnostic Clinic patients are invited to meet with Project GRACE representatives at the Life Planning Center, learn about advance care planning and take forms home with them as a basis for discussion. “We offer information and guidance about living wills, choosing a healthcare surrogate and other considerations,” said Rafael J. Sciullo, president and CEO of Suncoast Hospice. “Advance care planning allows individuals to make their own decisions and provide a wonderful road map for families when questions about care options arise and patients may not be able to speak for themselves.”
The Life Planning Center opened September 9 and has had discussions about advance care planning with more than 100 Diagnostic Clinic patients thus far.
Diagnostic Clinic is a multi-specialty medical group made up of 100 primary care physicians and specialists who work as a team to offer patients a one-stop medical home for virtually all of their health care needs. Based in Largo, Countryside and Palm Harbor, Diagnostic Clinic offers extensive laboratory testing and imaging, as well as the convenience of extended hours until 8 p.m. 7 days a week.
Project GRACE is a not-for-profit provider of advance care planning information, assistance and community education. An affiliate of Suncoast Hospice, Project GRACE may be reached at (727) (727) 536-7364 or projectgrace.org.