St Thomas’ Episcopal Church on Chestnut Street will host a forum on end-of -life decisions, Sunday, Oct.17 from 4 to 6 p.m., in the Parish Hall.

The discussion will address the issues of advanced care planning, advanced directives, hospice care, palliative care, CPR, artificial hydration/nutrition, and counseling for emotional or spiritual distress.

Speakers for the evening are the Rev. John Rafter, Rector St Thomas’, Christopher Hardy, a Camden attorney, Midge Welch, licensed clinician social worker, who has worked in hospice care for the past eight years and whose previous experience includes psychiatric social work; and JoAnne Ryan FNP-C, a nurse practitioner with Togus VA Medical Center Oncology Service, whose previous experience includes emergency department and family practice.

Modern medical developments like ventilators, feeding tubes, and CPR have put people and thier families in the difficult position of making life-prolonging medical decisions, according to the organizers. It is, therefore, very important that all families discuss the use of these life-prolonging medical procedures.

The goal of the discussion is to address the medical, legal, ethical, and moral aspects of the decision process, and to provide the necessary information to aid in preparing for a comfortable and dignified death. Death does not belong to just the chronically or terminally ill or the very old. The discussion belongs to all age groups.

It concerns those who have to deal with cases such as the 40-year-old father of four who returns from church, has his egg-white omelet breakfast, goes out for his morning run and is pronounced dead two hours later in the emergency department; and the 30-year-old mom of two toddlers, left in a coma as the result of a vehicular accident, with no hope of recovery. There are questions people need to ask their parents and there are questions people need to ask themselves.

All are welcome, light refreshments will be served.

For further information, contact St. Thomas’ at 236-3680 ext. 2