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What is Advance Care Planning?

What is advance care planning? It’s your written plan that will help your health care providers, your family feel more comfortable in making decisions for you.

There are so many options and decisions you need to make, they ought to be written down. When should they be completed? Some say when you turn 18, when you have a child or when you get married, or let’s wait until we are 50. A lot can happen before we are 50. Life is given to us, we can have a get a curve ball delivered  at any time to us or those we care about.

Do you know what your loved ones would want if something happens to them? Do the people who love you know what your wishes are? Advance care planning is like writing down your wishes when you write a Will or Living will. The sooner you do it the better.

Do not resuscitate orders

You have the option to complete a “do not resuscitate” order. This signed document instructs medical professionals not to perform CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) if your heart or breathing stops.

When the ambulance comes for you, they will resuscitate you. If you don’t want to be resuscitated, don’t call them. Make sure you have your bright pink sheet on your refrigerator that says “Do not resuscitate!”

Refusal or withdrawal of treatment

You have the right to refuse medical treatment, even if it is life-saving. Similarly, if you are receiving treatment, you can decide at any time to have some or all of that treatment withdrawn.

There are many decisions that need to be made at the end of life. These decisions will reflect your values and preferences for your care. They should also be communicated to your loved ones and other care providers. These decisions include:

  • what kind of care you would like to receive
  • where you would like to receive care
  • who will make decisions if you are unable to make them or communicate them yourself

Health care practitioners are required to ensure that they have the informed consent of a patient before providing treatment. Informed consent requires that you:

  • are consenting voluntarily, free from outside influences (no one is pressuring you)
  • have been fully informed about the nature of:
    • your illness
    • purpose of the treatment
    • alternative options to the treatment
    • the risks and benefits of receiving or not receiving the treatment
  • have the capacity to consent

If you are incapable of making a health care decisions, your substitute decision maker is responsible for making a decision on your behalf. Depending on where you live whether it is in the USA or  Canada this person can also be called a:

  • medical proxy
  • health representative or agent
  • power of attorney for personal care

A substitute decision maker is someone you trust. They are someone you choose to speak on your behalf if you become too ill to speak for yourself. This is why your advance care planning is needed.

You should name your substitute decision maker in your advance care plan. That person should have a copy of your plan. Along with your Executor /Administrator.  Your health care team will look to this person to help make decisions for you. They will help guide your care if you are not capable to do so.

If the you  have  not chosen a substitute decision maker, a close family member or friend may be appointed. If a family member cannot be found, the court will appoint a representative. Or the Doctors will continue all methods and treatments to keep you alive. Whether you want to be kept alive or not!

For more information or get the forms to fill out..Advance Directive Forms  read the previous post about who should be on your care team  What is pre-care planning is writing out your advance health directives, listing your care team members notifying the people who have agreed to present you.

Until next time, what questions do you have? Need help? Book an appointment




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