CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — Decisions, decisions. There are many that we face. Where to attend school. What house to buy. How to handle the end of our lives. Yes, our own mortality. It’s a decision that must be made; yet, less than 50 percent of older adults have a living will.

To help Tennesseans take control in their last days, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee and the Tennessee End of Life Partnership (TELP) will co-host one-day workshops entitled “Fundamentals of Advance Care Planning.” Participants may attend workshops on Thursday, Aug. 6, or Friday, Aug. 7, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at BlueCross’ corporate headquarters at 1 Cameron Hill Circle.

The workshop will focus on educating attendees on how to make the difficult decisions that are involved when dealing with the end of one’s life or the life of a loved one. Various issues such as advance care planning, do not resuscitate orders, and physicians’ orders for scope treatment will be discussed.

“People plan for the major events in their lives—marriage, vacation, having a baby–-but often neglect to plan when it comes to making end of life choices,” said Dr. Barbara Beeler, medical director at BlueCross. “This is a wonderful educational opportunity for community members and health care providers facing life planning issues.”

Speakers include Jane Owen and Jeannine Gaudet. Owen, a certified palliative nurse practitioner at Methodist University Hospital, was involved in helping to write the Tennessee Health Care Decisions Act of 2004 and will be speaking about understanding the concepts, language and tools of advance care planning and advance directives.

Gaudet, a nurse of 44 years with over 25 years of experience in end of life care, will help lead a discussion on medicine and ethics. Gaudet serves on the boards of the Mid-South Comfort Care Coalition, the Mid-South Health Ministry Network and the Healthy Congregations program for the North Mississippi Community Foundation.

The cost of the workshop is $75. Lunch will be provided. For more information contact Lisa Tittle, program coordinator for TELP, at (615) 423-2966 or at dodieheath17@bellsouth.net.

About TELP

TELP is a non-profit, statewide organization dedicated to defining and promoting best practices in End-of-Life Care. TELP also encourages and supports local “grass-roots” coalitions in the geographical regions of the state as they work toward improving end-of-life care. For more information, visit http://www.endoflifecaretn.org/.

About BlueCross

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee's mission is to provide its customers and communities with peace of mind through affordable solutions for health and healing, life and living. Founded in 1945, the Chattanooga-based company is focused on reinventing the health plan for its 3 million members in Tennessee and across the country. Through its integrated health management approach, BlueCross provides patient-centric products and services that drive health improvement and positively impact health care quality and value. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Inc. is an independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association. For more information, visit the company's website at www.bcbst.com.