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Advance care planning: Are you prepared?

3 minute read
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Whether you’re young or old, healthy or not, trauma like heart attacks, stroke or a car accident can happen to anyone.
Situations like these aren’t always life-ending events, but they can often leave a person unable to communicate their wishes for treatment.
For those nearing the end of their life, it’s not an easy or comfortable task to decide how you want to be taken care of. Moreover, it’s not a viable option for many individuals to make these decisions if they’re dealing with life-limiting illness or injury. When these decisions are placed into the hands of someone else, it can cause a lot of unnecessary stress to an already disheartening situation.
It’s important for your treatment wishes to be known and respected when you require care. If you’re unable to communicate your wishes due to trauma, advance care planning can help.

What is advance care planning?

 Advance care planning is a process that involves sitting down with a facilitator to determine what your personal needs and wants are for the end of your life. From there, you will create a written, legal document that details your personal values, life goals, and wishes for future medical treatment. This plan ensures that the care you receive at the end of your life is catered to your preferences.
During the planning process, it’s important to have a family member or close friend in attendance as well. This designated person will be the voice for your wishes if you’re ever in a situation where you’re unable to advocate for yourself. Having that individual involved in your decision making process will allow them to be privy to all facets of your wishes.

Getting started

 The emotional process of making these types of decisions can be difficult to facilitate on your own. Thankfully, starting up a conversation with a facilitator at Goshen Health is a relatively simple process, and our virtual appointments are free.
After requesting your advance care planning virtual appointment, you should invite someone close to you that you would like to speak for you in the instance you’re unable to.
You and your chosen person will be paired via Zoom with one of our facilitators, who are trained by Honoring Choices, to accompany you through these critical decisions.

A gift to yourself and your loved ones

 In the case that you’re ever in a position where you cannot communicate for yourself, it can be a distressing and confusing process for everyone involved in facilitating your care.
Having a conversation about your choices and expectations for end-of-life or trauma care is the first step. Then, it’s essential to document your decisions with tools such as advance directives and a facilitator, which establish that your wishes will be honored when the time comes.
Having an advance care plan that honors your personal wishes and a healthcare representative appointee who can act as your voice avoids the situation of burdening your loved ones with having to make decisions for you.  

Indiana-specific advance directives

 The laws for advance directives vary throughout the states. Indiana residents can download advance directive documents from the Indiana Department of Health.These documents can include but are not limited to a living will, do not resuscitate order (DNR), and organ and tissue donation.

At Goshen Health, we also offer additional information on state-specific advance directives for end-of-life care and additional resources, such as Honoring Choices Indiana or The Conversation Project, that can help start a conversation with your family about making these important decisions.

For more information or to get questions regarding advance care planning, visit our website or call us at 574-364-2288. 

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