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Education

Advance Care Planning

Give your loved ones the gift of making your wishes known.

What is advance care planning?

Advance Care Plan­ning is plan­ning ahead for future health­care deci­sions if a sud­den or unex­pect­ed event left you unable to com­mu­ni­cate or make your own deci­sions and oth­ers would need to make deci­sions for you. 

What is an advance health­care directive?

An Advance Health­care Direc­tive is a legal doc­u­ment that allows you to voice your wish­es regard­ing future med­ical care/​treatment in the event you become unable to do so for your­self. This doc­u­ment ensures your wish­es will be honored. 

Every April, in hon­or of Nation­al Health­care Deci­sions Month, Ivin­son’s Ethics Com­mit­tee sets out to edu­cate the com­mu­ni­ty about the impor­tance of advance care plan­ning and advance health­care directives. 

Every­one should have an advanced health­care direc­tive and we feel it is our place to help facil­i­tate that,” Chris Hogan com­mit­tee chair said. There is a mis­con­cep­tion that you only need one if you are in poor health, have chron­ic con­di­tions, or are old­er. But the truth is, advance direc­tives have noth­ing to do with your health, it is about mak­ing your deci­sions known.” 

Lily James, an Ethics Com­mit­tee mem­ber and social work­er in the Mered­ith and Jean­nie Ray Can­cer Cen­ter has been active­ly work­ing with her patients to ensure their loved ones under­stand their health­care decisions.

The best time to plan for end of your life is before you ever get sick. I have a direc­tive because I have seen how not hav­ing one can effect fam­i­ly. It is such a gift to have one in place.”

How to make your health­care deci­sions known

Ethics Com­mit­tee mem­ber and social work­er Janae Ves­se­ly advo­cates for fam­i­lies hav­ing con­ver­sa­tions about their health and what they would want for them­selves in the case they could not com­mu­ni­cate their wishes.

No one wants to think about end of life deci­sions but real­ly its some­thing we should all be talk about,” Janae said. Don’t wait to have these con­ver­sa­tions, instead dis­cuss it ear­ly and often.”

  1. Reflect on your per­son­al expe­ri­ences, val­ues, desires and preferences.
  2. Talk to the per­son you are con­sid­er­ing to make your deci­sions if you were unable. Pick some­one who hon­ors your wish­es, it doesn’t have to be a spouse or a child it can be any­one,” says Chris.
  3. Appoint the per­son who will speak for you when you can­not speak for yourself.
  4. Doc­u­ment your deci­sions by exe­cut­ing an advance directive.
  5. Act by shar­ing your deci­sions in writ­ing with your health­care provider, fam­i­ly and friends. 

Fill out your advance health­care direc­tive today and make your wish­es known:

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