April 16 is National Healthcare Decisions Day, when Americans are encouraged to take the time to consider their values and preferences in regards to their health care. But this day is not just about contemplating these issues – it’s a reminder to do something about them.
Having the Conversation
It’s important to let your loved ones know what you would like when it comes to your medical care. Should you become unable to speak for yourself one day, due to an advanced illness or sudden accident, your loved ones will want to know how they can best advocate for you. Knowing what choices you would make for yourself can give your loved ones more confidence and less stress when it comes to making decisions for your care.
The Conversation Project offers its conversation starter guide, available in multiple languages, which provides a simple format help you gather your thoughts, focus on what is important to you, and offers practical examples for how to bring up the topic with your friends and family.
Documenting Your Wishes
An advance directive is a way of putting your wishes in writing. It is a legal document that allows you to name an advocate who can speak for you if you are unable to communicate, and it also allows you to record your preferences about the treatments you do or do not want to receive. You can find your state’s advance directive form via the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization through this link.
Angela Hospice can also provide you with the Five Wishes guide, a simple advance care planning tool. You can request a free copy by contacting our Community Relations team at 734.953.6014.
This insightful document and prayer are provided by the Catholic Health Association of the United States.