Resources - August 7, 2020
by Amanda Ranowsky
If there is one thing you should know about Advance Care Planning, it is this: An Advance Care Plan should cover much more than just end-of-life care. Having a plan in place can be extremely beneficial for all adults, regardless of your age.
Have you thought about the kind of healthcare you want to receive in certain situations? Do your loved ones know your wishes? How can you make sure you’ll get what you want if you aren’t able to make decisions for yourself? An Advance Care Plan can address all these questions. We explored these queries and much more during a recent webinar.
An Advance Care Plan – or “Advance Directive”, as it is often called – is a written guide you put in place to outline your wishes should you be unable to make decisions for yourself. In an Advance Care Plan, you name the person who will make decisions on your behalf, and you provide guidance on the care you do and do not want to receive. The name given to this individual is “designated decision maker”.
The first step is to understand what your state requires. You may choose to work with a lawyer to create your paperwork, depending on your state’s criteria. You can also go to this resource from AARP to find forms by state that you could download and use.
A plan doesn’t mean much if no one knows about it. To ensure your wishes are respected, you should discuss your plan with others.
First, engage your designated decision maker in a conversation. Make sure that individual is comfortable taking on the role of following your plan. Also, discuss the details of your plan so you know that individual is familiar with it and understands how it works. It is best to name a single decision maker; naming multiple decision makers can lead to arguments if they don’t agree, which can derail your plan.
Second, discuss your plan with your family and loved ones. Ensuring they know your wishes can help prevent disagreements over the care you receive. It can also help your designated decision maker feel more supported as they follow your wishes.
Finally, share your plan with your doctors and the medical facilities you will use. This will help guide them as they prescribe your care.
Two experts in the field of Advance Care Planning – Mr. Nathan Kottkamp and Dr. Farrah Daly – discussed these topics and more during a recent webinar offered by Goodwin House Life Plan Communities and Goodwin House at Home. Mr. Kottkamp is a Partner at Waller Law Firm. He is also the founder and chair of National Healthcare Decisions Day, an annual event that occurs on April 16 and aims to educate the public and healthcare providers about the importance of advance care planning. Dr. Daly is a neurologist, palliative medicine specialist and consultant to Goodwin House Hospice.