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Advance Care a Hot Topic at Fire Department Summit

Henry Ford Hospital aided the West Bloomfield Fire Department in engaging attendees of the 2011 Extended Care Facility Summit.

Being prepared and advance care were the topics of conversation at the annual Extended Care Facility Summit on Wednesday morning.

Representatives from about 12 extended care facilities throughout West Bloomfield attended the summit, held at the training center at Fire Station No. 5, to find out about advance care and how the Fire Department operates and can work with area nursing homes and extended care facilities.

The first half of the summit featured Fire Department staff talking about day-to-day operations, while the second half’s speakers were from .

Henry Ford Hospital’s staff discussed hospice and the importance of people being prepared for their passing, including having advance care directives filled out with end-of-life preferences.

“Having the conversation and planning is really important,” said Cathy Fitzgerald, a nurse practitioner at Henry Ford.

She also noted that, since physicians typically don't have the time to discuss the subject in length with their patients, Henry Ford has a free advance care planning program for that purpose.

Fire Chief Jay Wiseman and Capt. Gregory Flynn said they were pleased with the turnout and discussions circulating at the event. Flynn noted that the summits are starting to outgrow the facility and said the Fire Department might look into hosting the event elsewhere next year.

The purpose of the summit is to ensure everyone is meeting the needs of people in the 1,500 extended care beds within West Bloomfield, said Flynn.

“A lot of people think that the Fire Department just handles primary medical emergencies and fire-type incidents and those types of things, but this type of planning and community interaction is important for us,” Wiseman said. “We need others to be prepared, and we need to be prepared.”

Discussions included how to make the extended care facilities easily accessible for the Fire Department and having a chaplain available to extended care facilities. 

“In the past, we’ve focused on disaster preparedness; this year, advanced care,” Flynn said. “The big theme we went with this year is all about planning — it’s not just about the plan, but about implementing the plan. We just want to keep exploring different topics.”

Attendee Teresa Withrow, a caregiver at Nannie's Inn in West Bloomfield, said she was pleased with the event. She noted that she attended the event to learn about Fire Department response to assisted living patients.

“I wanted to hear about the Fire Department’s protocol,” Withrow said. “They did a good job with this program.”

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