Eight Reasons to Document Your Healthcare Wishes

Eight Reasons to Document Your Healthcare Wishes

If you were involved in a tragic accident or contract an illness that leaves you unable to talk about the type of care you’d like to receive, who will speak for you? Will your family or loved ones know what your wishes and personal beliefs are, or will they experience the anxiety of making difficult decisions concerning your care, potentially receiving conflicting advice from family, friends and medical professionals?

While a life-threatening accident or illness may not be preventable, you can help ease the angst your family and caregivers would experience in the aftermath. Advance Care Planning is being proactive to initiate conversations with loved ones and healthcare providers concerning on your personal values and preferences about continuing or withdrawing medical treatments at the end of life. These wishes should be documented in Advance Directives, entered in your medical record and communicated to those who would be authorized to direct your care.

Advance Care Planning and Advance Directives include:

  • Deciding and documenting what types of treatment you would or would not want after being diagnosed with a life-limiting illness. A Living Willallows you to document these wishes.
  • Designating a specific person who you trust as your surrogate healthcare decision-maker. A Medical Power of Attorneyis a legal document that allows you to appoint a healthcare proxy or healthcare power of attorney, who is authorized to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are unable to speak for yourself.

Eight Benefits of Advance Care Planning

Medical studies have shown that advance-care planning improves the quality of life in patients with life-limiting illnesses. Those who document their wishes with Advance Directives benefit from:

  1. Less time in the hospital at the end of life,
  2. Less-intensive treatments at the end of life,
  3. Increased usage of hospice services,
  4. Increased likelihood of dying in their preferred place,
  5. improved communication between patient, family, and the patient’s clinicians,
  6. Improved family understanding on what to expect during the dying process,
  7. Decreased risk of stress, anxiety and depression in surviving loved ones, and
  8. Decreased cost of end-of-life care, without increased mortality.

To access Advance Directive forms for your state, visit the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization at caringinfo.org.

To learn about options for care with a life-limiting condition, contact Covenant Care at 1-855-CARE-365 and visit choosecovenant.org.