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What is Advance Care Planning?

Advance Care Planning is a GIFT you give yourself and your loved ones so they do not have to guess what you want for medical care.

Advance Care Planning is planning in advance of a health crisis how much, or how little, medical care you may want for your end of life care.

I help people identify their values:

  • Some  people wish to die at home, pain-free, with family and friends around
  • Some people want every medical treatment done to extend their life
  • Your answer is right for you

I help people identify their wishes for quality of life at end of life.

I promote quality of life at end of life, and comfort, emotional support.

I educate people about Palliative Care and Hospice.

More importantly I help people have the conversations to make their wishes known to loved ones and healthcare providers.

What is the "Patient Right to Self Determination"?

In 1990 the United States Supreme Court passed the Patient Self Determination Act that gave individuals the right to say how much or how little medical care they want and to name someone to speak for them if they are unable to speak for themselves in relation to medical treatments. The documents used to formalize these decisions are called Advance Directives.

What is an Advance Directive?

"Advance Directives" is an umbrella term for a two part document.

One section is the well-known Living Will where one lists what medical care they would want, or not want, if death was imminent. Options are cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), breathing machine, antibiotics, blood transfusions, artificial nutrition and hydration, surgery and dialysis. One can name other specific wishes or limitations. Doctors and nurses want this information so they will know what to do, or not do, if a health crisis arises.

Research shows Living Wills are not enough, as the checklist of choices often does not fit the situation when a person comes to the emergency department. Often, the person is so sick they are not able to understand or speak to further direct the doctor. Sometimes medical care can help keep someone alive yet people may have limited their options by saying no to certain interventions. I help people identify their values that can help them chose appropriate options.

The more important of the two documents is the Power of Attorney for Healthcare Decisions (DPOA). One can name someone to speak for them in case they cannot speak for themselves. This person might also be called the agent or proxy. I train families and proxies in the role and responsibilities for a DPOA.

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