Friday, April 16th is National Healthcare Decisions Day.
If you haven’t paid much attention to this in the past, here are some thought-provoking reasons why you might want to consider paying attention to it now.
- Have you ever thought about what would happen if an accident or illness struck and suddenly you were unable to communicate?
- Would your partner, spouse or family members know what type of care you want?
- And just as important, would they all agree on the care you should receive?
- If the prognosis didn’t look good, would you want a say in what type of treatment, or how much treatment you would want?
- And if things turned terminal, would you want to stay in a hospital or be at home surrounded by loved ones?
Face it – no one likes to think about these situations. But they happen all too often.
That’s why National Healthcare Decisions Day exists. It was designated to educate and empower us on the importance of advance planning. It’s a day to think about and start preparing and creating a care plan that’s right for you. A plan that will be available for loved ones and physicians, so they’ll know what your desires for care are. A plan that will be available when, and if the need arises.
Creating a plan can be as simple or complex as you’d like. First:
1) Create your Living Will
A Living Will sets forth your wishes on topics such as resuscitation, and desired quality of life. It also outlines end of life treatments you don’t want to receive. This document is primarily between you and your doctor. It guides them on how to approach your treatment.
2) Decide on a Power of Attorney (POA or HCPOA)
When considering a POA, it is important to recognize that there are two different types of POA’s;
- POA for Healthcare. This allows your agent to make healthcare decisions on your behalf. This is critical if you are incapacitated, unconscious, or otherwise unable to make these decisions on your own.
- POA for Finances. This allows your agent to make legal or financial decisions on your behalf.
Remember, your Living Will outlines your desires and wishes for treatment and care. Your HCPOA will be the one to carry out your wishes if you are unable to communicate these wishes on your own.
3) Decide who will be the HCPOA and Financial POA.
- Would they be the same person?
- Once you’ve made your decision, have a conversation with them. Make sure they are on board, and know what your wishes are.
To read more on Living Wills and POA’s click on the following links:
Having the legal paperwork done ahead of time means, you will receive the care you want (or don’t want). Loved ones will know exactly what your desires are. And they’ll have the legal voice to ensure your wishes are carried out.
If you want to get started creating your plan on your own, we found some great Guides to help. They’ll walk you through questions and provide suggested answers. This will help you think through what your desires might be. Such as:
- As a patient, I’d like to know; “Only the basics about my condition and treatment” or “All the details about my condition and my treatment”
- When there is a medical decision to be made I would like; ”My Health care team to do what they think is best” or ””I want to have a say in every decision”
- If I become sicker, which matters to me more; “Doing everything possible to pursuing a longer life” or Accepting treatment that focuses on a good quality of life”
- If your health situation worsens, where would you want to be?; “I prefer to be in a healthcare facility” or “I prefer to be at home”
- What types of care do I NOT want?; Such as feeding tubes, or other treatments that would be of no benefit to me. Or that the benefits are outweighed by the burdens they impose. What about DNR’s (Do not resuscitate orders)?
Outside of treatments and care, outline what’s important to you and your lifestyle. Things such as:
- Being independent
- Being pain free
- Being able to do activities such as:
- Going for a walk
- Walking my dog
- Going to church
- Being able to play with my grandchildren
- Attending a special event or upcoming family vacation.
To download these guides and more, click on the following links:
And, for more information about creating your own Advance Directives, visit our web page: https://www.mylifeandwishes.com/national-state-resources/ or, contact an estate planning attorney for assistance.
And remember, the best way to securely store this paperwork and share it with your loved ones, is to use the My life and Wishes online platform Click here to get started today!