Advance Care Planning - Heart 'n Home Hospice & Palliative Care, LLC

Advance Care Planning

Advance Care Planning
A Road Map for Your Loved Ones and Medical Team

Talking about end-of-life healthcare wishes is difficult even in the best of circumstances; however, making decisions for a loved one in an emergency is even more complicated.

End-of-life care planning is the process of making your healthcare wishes known, in the event that something should happen unexpectedly, leaving you unable to communicate your preferences and personal beliefs in healthcare. Part of the planning process includes completing advance directives, which is putting your preferences into writing.

Advance directives are written, legal instructions that are recognized and valid throughout the United States (Living Will and Medical Power of Attorney). Advance directives guide your healthcare provider and loved ones to make appropriate medical choices on your behalf. It is not necessary to have a lawyer fill out an advance directive with you. Once you complete it and have it signed by the required witness, it becomes valid. Also, advance directives do not expire, but if you complete a new one, the previous version is now unacceptable for use.

Another way of thinking about advance care planning is similar to planning a road trip. Most people would not travel to an unfamiliar place without doing some kind of pre-planning. For instance mapping your route, determining attractions and dining preferences, etc. Yet only 30 percent of Americans have a Living Will, a map that guides loved ones and your healthcare provider through the medical treatment you wish to receive if you are unable to communicate.

These open conversations can reduce anxiety about a situation we are all subject to face. If you have not completed your advance directives, now is the time to do so. To find resources on how to start this conversation visit

Kandice Dickinson
Public Relations Specialist
Heart ‘n Home Hospice & Palliative Care, LLC


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New Reimbursement for Advance Care Planning Conversations


New Reimbursement for Advance Care Planning Conversations
This Will Help Medicare Beneficiaries Make More Informed Decisions on Care

Beginning January 1, 2016, physicians can now bill Medicare for advance care planning conversations. Heart ‘n Home Hospice & Palliative Care supports the new rule that provides physician compensation for what are important and complicated conversations with patients who are Medicare beneficiaries. We are pleased that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid recognizes the value of these meaningful discussions between physicians and their patients.

“For years, Heart ‘n Home has advocated for individuals to talk about their healthcare wishes with loved ones and healthcare providers. As Americans live longer, it’s more important than ever to have these conversations,” says Cindy Lee, RN, CHPN, CHPCA, and CEO/Owner of Heart ‘n Home.

Conversations will likely involve patient goals of care, discussions of advance care planning,  and help understanding advance directives. These topics are helpful for patients, their family caregivers, and the professionals caring for them during the course of a serious illness.  Get free tools and resources for advance directives.

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Advance Care Planning – Make Your End-of-Life Wishes Known

If something were to happen to you today, would your family and friends know your wishes? What will you be doing for National Healthcare Decisions Day, April 16th?

  • Completing my advance directive (Living Will, Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare)
  • Updating my advance directive
  • Starting the Heart to Heart Conversation of advance care planning with my family/friends
  • Encourage my loved ones to complete their advance directives

Have you done your advance directive? If not, don’t worry because it’s not too late – 18 years or 80 years …  make your wishes known today!

Imagine the impact we can make if we all took a moment to share our advance care planning story.  Read Janice’s story and feel free to post your own on our blog.

For more information or support in completing your advance directive call Heart ‘n Home today at 1-800-HOSPICE.

The Beauty of a Plan by a Hospice Nurse

The Beauty of a Plan

It’s never too late to “make a plan” for the future. It is true that with some resolutions, we start out with big goals and usually end up with little gains. There is one area though, that planning ahead makes a world of difference in our own lives as well as the lives of those we love and care about.

Working in healthcare for over 40 years, I have seen up close and personal the effects of poor healthcare planning and the great benefits of careful attention paid to Advance Directives.  A life-imposing visit to the Emergency Room is NOT the time to think of all those things we should have taken care of while we were well. Right now is the time to make decisions tonational-healthcare-decisions-day-2014 guide our physicians, family members, and loved ones involved in our care. The beauty of Advance Directives is that YOUR wishes are made known prior to the chaos of all emergencies.

Advance Directives exist in two primary forms: 1) A Living Will and 2) A Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare. The forms are both available on-line and do not require an attorney to complete or a Notary Public to make them official.

A Living Will is a simple document to complete that outlines your healthcare choices at end of life and when you are no longer able to make those wishes known. It requires an open and frank discussion with your loved ones and your physician. It can clarify and express your desires when you cannot make those requests known to others. It does not come into effect until it has been determined that you are no longer capable of decision making for yourself.

A Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare allows you to determine a stand-in decision maker if you are unable to speak yourself. They will have the same power as you would. This is usually a spouse, child, or trusted friend who knows your wishes and will carry them out for you, should it become necessary. Again, an open and frank discussion ahead of time makes a crisis much easier to deal with.

Both forms can be changed or updated upon desire of the person completing the documents at any time. It is important that your healthcare choices are known to your family and your physician to avoid unnecessary care or treatment that you would not choose for yourself.

When my mother died, all her documents were in order and it saved my three brothers and me the heartache, disharmony, and family conflict. I have also seen where this has not been the case and families have been torn apart because of lack of planning.  So fire up the internet,make some choices, and let your voice ring out … now, while it is clear and strong.

Related reading: National Healthcare Decisions Day-Make Your Wishes Known

Minda Jacobsen, RN, MSHA, CHPN
Senior Vice President of Clinical Operations

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