Why Advance Care Planning?
By Carla Jolley ARNP, MN, AOCN, CHPN Oncology/Palliative Care Advanced Practice Nurse
It is very frightening to have a loved one in the hospital or to think about being diagnosed with a terminal illness, but these things happen every day to people we know.
Distress often comes not only from having to decide what to do, but also from what not to do. Decisions about interventions, therapy and care can be very confusing. All of us want to do the right thing for the ones we care about and nobody wants to think about planning for their death. Talking about such things is never easy, yet this is an important task. Not having these conversations can cause confusion and distress for us and our loved ones. It is important not only to discuss our wishes, hopes and fears about being sick or dying, but also to create written communication about them as well.
"Start Talking," an article from Pulse magazine, may provide additional encouragement to you and your loved ones to begin these important conversations.
Decisions and feelings about these topics are very personal and can be challenging, but when a crisis happens or your health gets worse, it is important that we here at Whidbey General know what your wishes are. Please consider learning more about advanced care planning and then letting us know what you decide, because meeting your health care needs is our highest priority.
If you would like to speak with someone about advance care planning, please contact Carla Jolley or Dave Bieniek at 360-678-7656, ext. 2400 or 360-321-7656, ext. 2400.
Advance Care Planning
Advance care planning is a process of learning about, reflecting on and discussing preferences for future medical care, including end-of-life decisions. Advance care planning involves:
- Understanding the kind of medical problems you might experience in the future and determining how you would want to be treated under those circumstances, assuming you are unable to speak for yourself at the time.
- Reflecting on possible future care in light of current medical technology and on your personal, religious or cultural preferences.
- Discussing your choices with health care providers and loved ones.
- Communicating your wishes to others through various documents generally referred to as advance directives, which come out of the advance care planning process. These documents communicate your wishes to others.