Annie’s Project: Advanced Healthcare Planning

Annie’s Project:  Advanced Healthcare Planning

[music] Advanced healthcare planning is important for us at every stage of life. During this video we’ll increase our understanding of health care planning, highlight important planning considerations, and provide basic health care planning steps. Before we begin let’s review two important key terms. Advance directives are legal documents that outline the type of medical care we want to receive in different circumstances. Health care agent refers to the person we pick to speak for us when we cannot speak for ourselves. We should also note that advance health care planning is different than long-term care planning. Advanced health care planning is how we identify the type of care we want to receive in various situations based on our personal beliefs and goals for medical care. In contrast long-term care planning is the process of identifying care options available to us and developing a plan to ensure we can access the options we choose. Advanced healthcare planning has three important parts including: our health care agent; our culture, values, and beliefs; and our goals for medical care. Most importantly our health care agent must be willing to make difficult medical decisions that honor our wishes. While our family may seem like the natural choice, sometimes our loved ones cannot serve as our health care agent For example, it may be difficult for our spouse to end life-sustaining treatment. Our culture, values and beliefs are deeply personal and important, for this reason speaking with our pastor or our chaplain about advance health care planning helps us understand where our faith and preferences for medical care intersect. Building our advanced health care plan on this foundation helps reduce confusion during difficult or emotional situations when we cannot speak for ourselves. The final important part is our goals for medical care, these goals change as our health changes. Our preferences might be different after developing a specific diagnosis for example cancer and being mortal Atul Gawande offers helpful questions for us to consider as we think about our health status, and the type of health care we want to receive. 1. What is our understanding of our current health and potential outcomes? 2. What are our fears and worries? 3. What are our goals and priorities? 4. What trade-offs are we willing or not willing to make? 5. How would a good day look? We will close this video with the basic steps to developing an advanced health care plan. Step 1 is to identify our health care agent. This may be a family member, but can also be a trusted friend. Step 2 is to discuss our health care preferences. For example ,if we are unconscious after a serious farm or ranch accident, What is our preference if we are unlikely to regain consciousness? Honesty is critical at this stage, our agent must be willing to make difficult decisions that might end our life. If they cannot go back to step one. Be sure friends and loved ones know who is selected to avoid confusion and hard feelings later. Step 3 is to put it in writing, a lawyer is not necessary for this step. Most medical providers have forms available. Step 4 is to distribute our plan to any organization where we receive medical care. Our agent needs a copy as well. Step 5 is to review the plan as our life and health changes. Marriage, divorce, loss of a loved one, medical diagnosis, or end-of-life decline impact our health care planning preferences. During this video we discussed health care planning, highlighted important planning considerations, and provided basic health care planning steps. We hope you feel more prepared to begin the conversation about your advanced health care plan. [music]

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