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Hospice San Miguel to outline obligations and services related to dying in San Miguel

By Brigid Quinn & Vicki Stehn

For those unaware of the work of Hospice San Miguel, last year alone, the organization enhanced the quality of life for 55 individuals with life-limiting illness by comprehensively managing their physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs. When you include the family and friends of those 55 patients, our continuum of care has positively touched the lives of over 600 people. The work of Hospice San Miguel, which offers its services free-of-charge, is based on the palliative care model, which concentrates on reducing the severity of disease symptoms rather than finding a cure for the disease. Hospice San Miguel helps patients remain comfortable, alert and able to participate in life as fully as possible until death occurs naturally and peacefully. We also help patients remain in their homes throughout the dying process, lovingly surrounded by family and friends. Hospice San Miguel affirms life and regards dying as a natural process, and neither hastens nor postpones death. The philosophy of the hospice movement is clearly summed up in the motto of Hospice San Miguel: “We add life to days when days can no longer be added to life.”

Seminar: End of Life in San Miguel Tue, May 8, 2pm, St. Paul’s Church Community Room, Cardo 6/ 152-6620. Donation 80 pesos

In addition to its work in palliative care for those at life’s end, Hospice San Miguel undertakes a number of initiatives each year to broaden the knowledge and understanding of the hospice movement and other end-of-life issues. As part of its outreach initiatives, Hospice San Miguel is holding a seminar at St. Paul’s Church to provide residents of San Miguel with news they can use about the state of Guanajuato’s new advance directive law and the services offered by San Miguel’s 24- Hour Association. The event will also give attendees the opportunity to meet the face of Hospice San Miguel—its staff nurses, doctors, and legal advisors. The fee is 80 pesos and includes an informational booklet on advance directives.

Advance Directives

“Living wills and other advance directives describe your preferences regarding end-of-life care. Because unexpected situations can happen at any age, all adults need advance directives.” The Mayo Clinic Advance Directives help prevent confusion and disagreements by providing written instructions regarding your medical care preferences. They can cover a number of medical care preferences, including living wills (the oldest form of advance directive), health care power of attorney, and “do not resuscitate” orders. In June 2011, the State of Guanajuato enacted a law requiring that all residents of the state, native and foreign born, have an advance directive. Come and learn what you need to know about this law from Celaya lawyer Elvia Josefina Ruiz Amaro, who was instrumental in the writing of the law, and is head of Guanajuato’s Voluntad Anticipada.

The 24 Hour Association

“This (Mexican death law) presents immediate problems which cannot await the arrival of executors no matter how carefully prearranged.” Admiral Alex Charlton, USN (Ret), founder of the San Miguel 24 Hour Association. This organization is a San Miguel-based non-profit that offers pre-paid after-death services, including body disposition, funeral arrangements, contacting family and friends, registering deaths with the Mexican authorities, and obtaining death certificates. The Association was founded in 1965 and got its name from a now-defunct Mexican law requiring burial within 24 hours. However, there are still a myriad of regulations relating to death in Mexico. Learn from a representative of this organization how to deal with death in a foreign country.

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