Is Advance Care Planning sitting on the bottom of your worry pile, very quietly nagging?
You’ve heard about it. Maybe you started and the Advance Care Directive form sits half done. You fully intend to get to it – sometime. When you run across it you think, “oh yuck! ” Each time another article or news story comes out about over-medicated or over-hospitalized deaths you are reminded that you mean to get to that form. You hear a story about a friend’s Mom who ended up in ICU with her family arguing about what she would have wanted. In your mind’s eye you see your incomplete form.
With all the daily demands though, how can you make it a priority? There are much more immediate concerns and who wants to think about this part of life anyway. It is totally understandable that it doesn’t get done.
What you may not know is that it’s a process that can have surprising rewards not only in the unforeseen future but right now.
Watch this video
In the four-minute CBS news story below you can get a sense of the difference planning makes to the lives of families. Click on the play button below to start the video. (A thirty-second ad precedes the video.)
no flash? – click to view at CBS
CBS News Story April 27, 2014 Being Prepared for the Final Days.
Every day new ways to prevent death are discovered. We regularly hear wonderful stories of people able to recover from a medical crisis and return to their lives more vital than ever. Far less news coverage is given to the painful interventions that postpone death but do not give renewed life.
None of us wants to think about our death or the passing of those we love.
Yet there’s so much at stake. Will you die at home with the people you love around you or spend your last days in an intensive care unit hooked up to machines? It takes clear information and careful thought to map out your wishes.
If you don’t discuss what you want, the choice will be made for you.
Death used to be expected at the end of a long life or in a major medical crisis. Modern medicine is awesome at postponing death. Machines can keep you alive for days, months, and years. How and where do you want to live your final days?
Your work is so critical to all of us and I hope many more people take the initiative to address the realities of dying. We felt liberated to begin our decision making and set our plans in place for the end of our lives.
Kim Nace and Mike Earley
Who is going to make the decisions?
Your own doctor, the other medical people, your family. Do they know what you want? Do you know what the choices look like, really?
It is terribly hard to deal with all this in a time of crisis. If they don’t know, if you have never talked with them about your beliefs, your values, and your goals for living what will they do if you can’t speak for yourself?
What would you want?
If you had a major medical emergency or illness that made it impossible for you to communicate and the doctors were clear that there was little chance of your being able to return to life as you knew it – what should be decided on your behalf?
There’s a growing recognition that we need to learn what the choices are, think about our beliefs and wishes, discuss them and put them in writing long before a situation occurs that requires a decision.
Though not easy, it’s an act of great caring to talk about this far in advance. Doctors and loved ones can then have the knowledge that they are doing what you wanted.
You can learn lots on this site – see what works best for you.
Look through the Best Resources section for recommended readings, etc.
If you just want to get your advance directive done NOW, download the form for your state and follow the directions.
If you stall, procrastinate, or otherwise are finding this difficult, I can help. Please contact me.