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 www.goHOSPICE.com.
Public Relations Specialist
Heart ‘n Home Hospice & Palliative Care, LLC