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 www.goHOSPICE.com.

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

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National Healthcare Decisions Day – Make Your Wishes Known

While making healthcare decisions is often difficult in the best of circumstances, making decisions for others is even more complicated. Each of us has the ability to guide our healthcare providers and our loved ones about what we want. Advance directives give you the ability to document the types of healthcare you do and do not want, and to name an “agent” to speak for you if you cannot speak for yourself. As Terri Schiavo’s situation vividly revealed, having an advance directive can be valuable for all adults, regardless of current age or health status.

Please help us make history, again.  April 16, 2014, will be the 7th annual National Healthcare Decisions Day.  The inaugural event, which was formally recognized by Congress and Advance-directive-factnumerous state and local governments, included participation by 76 of the most prominent national healthcare, religious, and legal associations and organizations.  By the second year, over 700 local and state organizations throughout the country also participated.  At every level, the goal of this nationwide initiative is to ensure that all adults with decision-making capacity in America have both the information and the opportunity to communicate and document their future healthcare decisions.  The first years’ results were impressive—over 750,000 people obtained resources to make their healthcare decisions known—but there remain millions of Americans to go.

With the Patient Self-Determination Act of 1990, Congress affirmed the right of every citizen to set forth his or her future healthcare wishes in writing with an “advance directive.” Yet, various estimates suggest that only about 25% of all Americans have done so.  Because advance directives can be created without a lawyer, for free, and relatively easily, this figure is astonishingly low.  In recognition of this, National Healthcare Decisions Day strives to provide much-needed information to the public, reduce the number of tragedies that occur when a person’s wishes are unknown, and improve the ability of healthcare facilities and providers to offer informed and thoughtful guidance about advance healthcare planning to their patients.

With healthcare, “your decisions matter;” however, others need to know your wishes to honor them. There are no wrong answers when thinking about healthcare choices and completing an advance directive. Please use April 16, 2014, to decide, discuss, and document your wishes, whatever they may be.

Not sure how to start the difficult conversation about advance directives? We can help! Click here to view the Heart to Heart Conversations guide.

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.

New Reimbursement for Advance Care Planning Conversations

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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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