It's Always Too Early Until It's Too Late.
Talking about your health care decisions today could offer your loved ones a gift in the future.
What is Advance Care Planning?
Advance Care Planning is thinking about your personal values, beliefs and preferences for care at the end of life or at a time when you are not able to speak for yourself and then discussing them with your family and your healthcare providers. It is also learning about your current state of health and what specific care decisions you may need to make in the future.
These discussions with family and health care providers should be ongoing and involve more than completing a Power of Attorney for Healthcare form. you should review your documents with any major changes in your health or family status to ensure they reflect your current decisions.
Advance Care Planning is much more than just completing advance directives. The best time to talk about this is before an illness becomes worse.
To learn more about St. Margaret’s Advance Care Planning, Call (815) 664-1486.
St. Margaret’s Hospital provides all adult patients with information on Advanced Directives, legally valid documents which express a person’s choice on life-sustaining treatments. Illinois law recognizes two types of Advanced Directives: the Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care and the Living Will.
Power of Attorney
A Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care permits you to name someone to make health care decisions for you if you are unable to do so yourself. By designating someone you trust to act on your behalf, you are able to control decisions concerning your medical care and treatment.
If a person is unable to make their own health care decisions, it is important someone knows their goals, values and believes and is willing to make health care decisions for them.
• Approving surgeries and procedures
• Starting or stopping chemotherapy or radiation
• Starting or stopping certain medications
• Requesting a do-not-resuscitate (DNR) order
• Starting or stopping kidney dialysis or blood transfusions
• Starting or stopping a breathing machine
• Starting or stopping feeding tubes
• Choosing where care is provided
• Arranging for organ donation or autopsy
• Contacting a person to provide spiritual support
• Approving release of medical records
Having ongoing discussions with the person about the care decisions they would make in different states of health will help you.
The person’s health care providers should also be able to help you understand the risks and benefits of different treatments and the choices for care.
Early on, it is usually helpful to have the person share their thoughts about their decisions for end-of-life care with all of their close family members and friends. It is also helpful for the family to know that you are the Health Care Agent.
If difficult decisions for which you are responsible need to be made at the end of the person’s life, you may discuss them with other family members, a spiritual guide, ethicist or a lawyer. However, it is good to remember that your goal is to make the decisions you believe the person would have wanted.
Call (815) 664-1320 to learn more about becoming a Health Care Agent.
A Living Will allows you to state in advance what types of medical treatment you do or do not desire in case you develop a terminal illness and death is imminent.