Every day you make choices that impact your life. And, as a capable adult, you have the right to participate in making choices about your future medical care. Many of you have planned for the future by having a health insurance plan, and/or a financial plan - you should also consider the healthcare situations you may encounter in the future and have a plan that defines the kind of end-of-life care that you want.
Advance directives are documents that clearly communicate your goals and values. There are two parts to an advance directive, your personal plan and your appointment of someone who will be responsible to see that your wishes are remembered and respected.The personal plan is known by most as a living will. Having a living will is the best way to make sure that, if you are incapable of participating in making a decision about your care, those around you know your views. This plan can provide great comfort to those who will make those end-of-life decisions for you.The second part of the advance directive designates someone to make healthcare decisions on your behalf if you are cannot. This “healthcare surrogate” or "power of attorney for healthcare” has the power to direct the care you receive when you are not able to actively make those decisions yourself.After you have decided what care you would like to have, it is vital to communicate your wishes to your physicians, other health professionals and, most importantly, to those close to you. Talking about these issues may not be easy. You may not know how to start the conversations or you may face resistance and even denial. It’s not easy talking about the quality of life you want at the end of life.
Simple, but amazing video on advance care planning gracefully explains why it matters for ALL of us. Please visit www.nhdd.org and take action on April 16 (National Healthcare Decisions Day) and be sure your family, friends, colleagues, associations, etc. do the same. Your decisions matter. Thanks to the Canadian Speak Up Campaign for donating the video to the NHDD effort.
You've completed your Advance Directives - Now What?
Talk to your loved ones. Ask permission to have this conversation, as people cope with end-of-life issues in many ways. Hold a private conversation in a quiet, comfortable place that is free from
distraction. Tell them exactly what your choices for treatment would be if you were faced with a life-limiting illness. Tell your loved ones who you have named as your healthcare decision maker. Talk to your doctor. Talk to your healthcare providers about your wishes. Tell them what medical treatment you want and do not want at the end. Tell your doctor who you have chosen to be your healthcare decision maker. Make copies of your advance directives.Keep the original documents in a safe and accessible place, and tell others where you put them. Do not keep your advance directives in a safe deposit box; other people need to see them. Give copies to your healthcare decision maker. Give copies to your doctors and other healthcare providers.
For more information about Advance Directives, please contact our Community Liaison at 386-671-4769.