Considering your mortality is not easy. Along your journey, we know you will come to face numerous different decisions about what type of care you will receive. It is impossible to fathom the multitude of healthcare options you may be presented. Advance Care Planning gives you a basic framework for letting professionals and your loved ones valuable information about your priorities. This means that should you be unable to speak for yourself, your wishes will be honored.
- Advance Directive Basics
Advanced Directive Info
An Advance Directive is your starting point for advance care planning. Any adult can and should complete one. Each state offers its own version. Our team is always happy to help answer any questions about these forms. You can find copies available, along with the completion requirements, online at the links below and we are also happy to provide Wisconsin or Illinois forms.
Once you have them completed, keep a copy for yourself, your loved ones, and your physician.
- Planning Difficult Conversations
Conversations surrounding decline and end-of-life care preferences are difficult, but they are your chance to share your wishes and better understand the wishes of your loved ones. An open conversation if preferable to just sharing completed documents because you can provide a better context and that will make it easier for your loved ones to follow your wishes.
Here are a few tips:
- Make sure you plan for an appropriate amount of time. These conversations should not be rushed.
- Prepare questions for your loved ones and make sure they have questions for you as well.
- Discuss alternative treatment options and end-of-life care.
- Discover preferences surrounding comfort care and location of care.
- Review any spiritual or emotional goals.
- Be patient. Considering decline and end-of-life is not simple.
- Other Considerations
- Your financial and legal affairs are covered with other tools, those are important as well. This would most likely involve your lawyer, tax representative, bank, accountant, etc.
- You may also have digital considerations to make. Facebook now offers memorial settings that you can choose, this may be an easy starting point and a great opportunity to begin sorting through your own wishes. These are available in your profile settings.
- The more thoroughly you discuss advanced care planning topics with your loved ones, the more peace of mind you will all experience.
- It may be difficult to determine an individual to best advocate for your wishes. Discussing them ahead of time can ensure that you find a good fit for your priorities.
- Next Steps - Advance Directives
You've completed your Advance Directive - now what?
Congratulations. Determining your wishes is critical so that you can make them known to your loved ones as well as your doctor. Here are some helpful next steps:
- Keep the original copy of your health care advance directive and other notes someplace they can be easily found.
- Give your proxy a copy of the directive plus any worksheets or notes. Make sure your proxy knows where to find the original.
- Give your doctor a copy of your directive and have it added to your medical record. Make sure your doctor will support your wishes.
- Care an advance directive wallet card with you.
- If entering a new medical facility take a copy of your directive with you and ask that it be placed in your medical record.
- 6 Times to Re-Examine Your Wishes
Please note that advance planning for health care is always a work in progress. Your circumstances, values and priorities can all change over time or suddenly. It is important to reevaluate your wishes and make a new advance directive if your previous one no longer accurately reflects your priorities.
*If you change your advance directive it is important to notify everyone who has copies of your old medical directive forms.
- Decade - the beginning of each new decade of your life.
- Death - whenever you experience the death of a loved one.
- Divorce - when you experience a divorce or other major family change.
- Diagnosis - when you are diagnosed with a serious health condition.
- Decline - when you experience a significant decline or deterioration of a health condition.
- Domicile - if you move to a new home or no longer live independently it is a smart time to reconsider your preferences.