Have the Conversation Before the Crisis
What if, today, on the way home, you have a serious car accident or medical event that affects your ability to communicate in a meaningful way? You are transported to the hospital, but do not know who you are, where you are, and what is being done to treat you.
- Will anyone know who to call as an emergency contact?
- Will your loved ones know what medical treatments you would or would not want done? Would they agree on treatment options?
- Do you have an advocate - one person you trust who you want to be your voice?
- Have you discussed your end-of-life preferences with family?
- Do you have your care wishes in writing and is the document is easily accessible?
April is National Healthcare Decisions Month and a time dedicated to spreading awareness of advance care planning. If you answered ‘no’ to any of the above questions, now is the time to start a conversation with your loved ones.
One of the first steps you can take now is to add ICE (in case of emergency) contacts to your phone. This can help emergency personnel reach the people you trust. Next, have the conversation about advance care planning with your loved ones and complete an advance directive.
Understanding Advance Care Planning and Advance Directives
Advance care planning is a process of personal reflection and communication. It is a time for you to evaluate your values and wishes, and to let people know what kind of health and personal care you want in the future if you are ever unable to speak for yourself. It means having discussions with family and friends, especially your patient advocate – the person who will speak for you if you cannot speak for yourself. It may also include writing down your wishes, and talking with your current healthcare providers.
An advance directive is a legal document that states who you want to make medical decisions on your behalf and what your end-of-life wishes are if you are unable to make decisions on your own. The document is free to complete. You may never need to use the plan – but if you do, there is peace of mind knowing that it’s there for you and your loved ones.
Benefits of Advance Care Planning
It can be difficult to start this conversation with your loved ones. However, you, your family and your healthcare providers will be happy you took steps to plan for your care in case of a crisis. There are many benefits to being prepared including:
- It helps to ensure people receive the care they want
- It improves ongoing and end-of-life care
- It improves patient and family satisfaction
- Families whose loved ones have an end of care plan feel less anxious because they aren’t trying to guess what their loved one wants
- It gives healthcare providers and hospitals clear treatment direction, resulting in a reduction of unwanted care
Upcoming Workshops to Help You Start Planning
Workshops are free and open to the public. Registration is not required for most classes. Visit bronsonhealth.com/classes for a complete list of upcoming classes.
Who will speak for you? Give your family the gift of knowing your choices. Take action and start your advance care planning today. If you would like to schedule a presentation for your place of work, family or just want a little one-on-one support, we can help. Learn more here or call (269) 341-8778.