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Support National Healthcare Decisions Day and Advance Healthcare Planning

04-13-2017

Each year, National Healthcare Decisions Day helps to raise awareness of the value of advance healthcare planning. Frederick Memorial Hospital is joining healthcare organizations across the country to educate the public and providers about the importance of advance care planning, and inspire them to join the movement. This year, NHDD is a weeklong event, from April 16 to 22.

This year’s theme says it all: “It always seems too early, until it’s too late.” Sub-themes have been created for each day, including how to prepare, the best way to discuss your wishes with family and loved ones, and how to encourage others to become engaged in advance care planning.

Frederick Memorial Hospital is proud to participate in this weeklong event and help make a difference—will you join us?

Get Advance Care Planning

Conversations about end-of-life care can be extremely stressful, but they allow families to get information about life-saving treatments, decide what type of treatment they would want if they were diagnosed with a life-limiting illness, and share their personal values with their loved ones.

Advance Care Planning is necessary so that family and friends understand their loved ones’ wishes , in the event that they’re no longer able to speak for themselves. These can be difficult discussions, but it is important that they take place around the kitchen table or in the family home instead of in the hospital.

The Conversation Project is dedicated to making it easier for families to discuss end-of-life care together. It can be difficult to know when you should bring it up, or how to get the conversation started. The conversation starter kit makes it easier for you and those close to you to have these discussions by providing questions, icebreakers, and suggestions on what you should talk about.

Advance Directives are for Everyone—Not Just Patients Facing a Life-Limiting Illness or Injury

No matter what your wishes are for how you want to handle treatment at the end of life, it’s important to have an advance directive. This is a living will that allows you to document your wishes for end-of-life medical treatment.

In order for your advance directive to become the document that determines how a physician proceeds in caring for you or your loved one, they must be certain that you or your loved one is unable to make medical decisions. A medical power of attorney allows for someone close to you, like a family member or a very close friend, to be declared your healthcare agent. This person is authorized to make medical decisions for you. In the event that you are unable to speak to your healthcare provider about your treatment, your advance directive and healthcare agent will be able to communicate your wishes.

After you sign your advance directive, it’s important to go back periodically to make sure that your wishes haven’t changed. If you decide you’d like to change something, it’s best to complete a new document to avoid confusion.

What It Means for Your Family and Loved Ones

When it comes time to make decisions about how you want to handle your end-of-life care, it’s important to think about how these decisions will impact your family and loved ones. When the time comes, it’ll be difficult for everyone. Discussing your wishes with them will help to relieve them of any added stress.

By knowing how you want to handle your end-of-life care, you could help to manage your loved ones’ guilt, confusion, and fear. The earlier that you have these conversations, and the clearer you are with your wishes, the more comfortable they’ll be when it comes time to handle your care. There’s no way for a situation such as this to not bring sadness, but having things in order will help to ease the load on an already heavy burden.

How to Store Your Paperwork

Every state has different advanced directive paperwork. Regardless of where you’re located, you can download a free PDF of your state’s advance directive here. Instructions are provided on how to proceed based on your state of legal residence. If you have any questions while filling out your directive or helping a loved one, you’re encouraged to call your state attorney general’s office or an attorney.

When preparing your advance directive, be sure that you’re accurately reflecting your own wishes, and don’t allow yourself to feel pressured by the wishes of others. Ensure that your physician and those close to you fully understand any specific requests that you have, and have someone look over the document to make sure it’s been filled out correctly.

When it comes time to store your advance directive, make sure that it’s placed somewhere safe where it can’t be affected by theft, fire, flood, or natural disasters. It’s best to make several copies of the document, and tell those you trust most where you keep them.

Join the Movement!

Discussing end-of-life care is difficult, but it’s important to ensure peace of mind for you and your loved ones. Join Frederick Memorial Hospital in advocating for advance care planning awareness and help make this year’s weeklong NHDD successful. For more information on how to get involved, visit www.nhdd.org/#welcome.

Have Questions or Need Some Help?

Join us Frederick Memorial Hospital and a team of experts on April 26, from 6 to 8 p.m. at FMH Crestwood, for Ask the Expert: Managing Life’s Transitions.

If you are interested in completing your own advance directive, or simply want to speak with an expert and get some questions answered. This workshop-style event is free and open to the public. Click here for more information.

Categories: Advanced Directives


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