Today is National Healthcare Decisions Day and there has been much talk about having “the talk” with family, friends, physicians and healthcare professionals regarding healthcare decision-making.
Healthcare providers across the country are joining together to empower Americans in making future healthcare decisions known to family, friends and their healthcare providers. Now is a great time to share your wishes and complete your advance directive, because your decisions matter.
What is an advance directive?
All adults can benefit from thinking about what their healthcare choices would be if they were unable to speak for themselves. These decisions can be written down in an advance directive so that others know what they are. Advance directives come in two main forms:
- A “healthcare power of attorney” (or “proxy” or “agent” or “surrogate”) documents the person you select to be your voice for your healthcare decisions if you cannot speak for yourself.
- A “living will” documents what kinds of medical treatments you would or would not want at the end of life.
What is POLST – Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment?
POLST is a physician’s order that outlines a plan of care reflecting the patient’s wishes concerning care at life’s end. The POLST form is voluntary and is intended to:
- Help you and your health care professional discuss and develop plans to reflect your wishes, and
- Assist physicians, nurses, health care facilities, and emergency personnel to honor your wishes for life-sustaining treatment.
Make your future healthcare decisions known today! Healthcare consumers can get an Advance Directive Form online from the Office of the Attorney General for their State, or obtain a form from your doctor. In addition, local organizations such as The Elizabeth Hospice are providing workshops on how to complete an Advance Directive during the month of April.
Being a healthcare advocate for yourself or for those you care for will help in making informed decisions surrounding healthcare choices.