In honor of National Healthcare Decisions Day today, we invite you to take a moment to think about what your wishes are in the event of a medical crisis. This past year, COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of discussing your wishes with your loved ones and documenting these wishes in the form of an advance directive. Far too often, this conversation gets put on the back burner and people find themselves in a medical crisis with no plan. When this happens, it may be too late to receive the care you wanted.
So what is advance care planning?It includes completing an advance directive, also known as a living will. This is a written statement that details your wishes for medical treatment should you be unable to communicate these to your doctor or healthcare provider yourself. Advance care planning also includes appointing a power of attorney (POA). This person will be responsible for making your healthcare decisions if you are unable to speak for yourself.
Why is it important?These are important steps to take to ensure you receive the care you want in the event of a medical crisis. NHPCO President and CEO Edo Banach says, “It’s also important to remember that having these thoughtful discussions with your family and documenting your wishes can be a gift to your loved ones should you become critically ill and unable to speak for yourself. Your priorities will be clear to them,” So for yourself and for your loved ones, please take some time to come up with a plan, discuss it with your loved ones, and document it in an advance directive. See below for some resources from the NHPCO that can help with your advance care planning:
- Downloadable state-specific advance directive forms
- Links to digital advance directive services
- Tips for talking about your care wishes