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Education 16 April 2021

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 were to leave 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.”

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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-life-care is before you ever get sick. I have a directive because I have seen how not having one can affect 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,” says Janae. 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: