The IDLM community is full of amazing, talented people from all over the world and many different walks of life. To really show how fantastic our members are, we are starting a once-a-month Spotlight Series to focus on some of IDLM’s students and graduates.

To start off with though, we wanted to spotlight IDLM Executive Directive. She has been instrumental in making this program what it is, and she will be leading a new Advance Care Planning Program beginning in August. Anyone with an interest in IDLM needs to get to know this lady. I am talking about our very own Pam Carter!

Here are some of her thoughts about IDLM and end of life work.

How did you get involved with IDLM to begin with?

I met Anna in a training we were both taking.  We became fast friends, and she shared her vision of IDLM with me.  As she was building out IDLM we shared many conversations about end of life work, and she kept asking me to join her—but it took a little while for me to say yes.  She was sneaky about getting me involved! One thing led to another and before I realized it– Here I was, moving full steam ahead.

What has been the most exciting and/or surprising part of your journey with IDLM?

Wow, the most exciting- seeing so many amazing students come through our classes.  To see so many people who truly care about changing the face of death in America and beyond is exciting! To have dedicated individuals taking classes, building their practices, and going into their communities to educate and serve.  Honestly, it brings tears of joy to me every time a student shares about a family they have served and the difference they are making!  I am thrilled beyond words with the impact that IDLM is making!!! And how as a community we are all striving for the same goals, together, we are a chosen family from across the maps, walking side by side in bringing comfort,  care, hope and peace to each family we serve.

Please share a little bit about your passion for advance care planning and why it is so important.

Advance Care Planning is to me the most important act in living well.  An ACP is the greatest gift we can give to not only our loved ones and friends, but the most important aspect we give ourselves to have confidence in knowing we have a plan.  You know, we plan everything in life. We plan trips, holidays, family gatherings, education, home purchase, car purchase, heck we even plan what we want to wear most days.  

BUT most people fail to plan for what if life is interrupted. What if you become ill? What if you are injured and can’t speak? What if tragedy strikes and hard decisions need to be made? Do you want to leave your life in someone else’s hands that is clueless to what is important to you?  Do you want to risk having medical treatments that you are against, but nobody knows?  Do you want a judge to decide who gets to decide what happens while you’re living or ultimately when you are dead??  An Advance Care Plan is your insurance policy covering unexpected life events.  It should be well thought out and put together, it should be reviewed at least yearly, and everyone who would be a key player in helping you should have a copy and know what to do. Advance Care Plans give hospitals and doctors instructions on what matters to you, without second guessing.  It is a legal document and every state acknowledges a patient’s rights to have a plan.  To me, ACP is the most important document an individual should have, so they are in control of their medical treatments, end of life decisions and closure to a life lived.

What are you excited about for the future of IDLM?

I am so excited about IDLM’s future.  We are only three years old and we have accomplished so much in such a short period of time.  We have an amazing facility of teachers who bring over 200 years of experience to our classrooms jointly.  Our programs are consistently changing and updating, as all of the instructors at IDLM are actively practicing in the industry daily.  We always say we have “boots on the ground” and truly we have “hearts beating to the same drummer!”  Our mission is to educate and change the face of death, and we are doing just that.  We have amazing partners who believe in us and work with us to build a strong educational platform.   

I am also excited about the 2024 Tree of Life Conference in November.  We have an incredible conference planned that will be solid training for doula’s to enhance their offerings to their communities.  Each day is filled with opportunities to learn and network with amazing leaders in our industry who are committed to the same goals and purposes.  On Friday, to launch the conference, we will be having a training that morning, followed by participants that afternoon seeing that training put into practice!  It will set the pace for what is to come over the next three days as our focus will be on Communities and offering change.

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