Advancing age can bring a host of changes to your life. You may be spending more time at home, in less-than-ideal health. You might be facing an illness or condition that requires more intensive care. Perhaps you need help managing the daily tasks that have always been a part of your routine. All of these situations can affect the way you live and what kind of care you receive. That’s when having an advance care plan comes in handy. But what is advance care planning?
It’s important to start thinking about how you want to live as you age, and how much assistance you want from others. The best way to make sure your wishes are honored is by creating an advance healthcare plan. This is a document that outlines all of your wishes for end-of-life care and medical decision making. That sounds complicated though and you may ask yourself “how do I make an advance care plan?”. Myend is here to help you make the best decision for your life in an easy-to-use manner.
Let’s dive into what advance care planning actually means!
Advance care planning explained
Advance care planning involves thinking about your future medical care when you might not be able to make decisions for yourself. It applies to the kind of care you want if you become seriously ill or injured and are unable to communicate your preferences or make decisions. This is sometimes called end-of-life care, and it includes the type of medical care you would or would not accept when you’re near death.
Health care advance planning gives you the opportunity to think about and express your preferences for the type of care you would like to receive as well as what outcomes you consider acceptable. This will help ensure that your loved ones and health care providers know your preferences and that these preferences are respected.
Fortunately, when advance care planning is done properly, your preferences will be recorded in a plan known as an advance care directive – which, when implemented by a substitute decision-maker, will help ensure your wishes are respected.
Why is Advance Care Planning important?
An advance care plan makes sure that you receive appropriate care as soon as possible when you’re in need of it. Without an advance care plan, there may be a delay in getting your needs met, which can lead to unnecessary suffering or even death.
Advance care planning is a necessary step for anyone who wants to make sure their wishes are respected and their rights protected at all times.
In short, advance care planning benefits everyone involved:
- It helps you to be sure that you are getting the care you want and need.
- Additionally, it improves ongoing and end-of-life care, along with personal and family satisfaction.
- When people make advanced care plans, their families report less anxiety, depression, and stress and are more satisfied with care.
- For healthcare professionals and organizations, it reduces the need for unnecessary transfers to acute care and unwanted treatment.
If you haven’t documented your health care preferences or identified a substitute decision-maker, this might be a great document for you to work on. Moreover, if you become seriously injured or ill, doctors will make treatment decisions based on what they think is in your best interests. This may include treatments that you would not want.
Everyone needs an advance care plan
An advance healthcare plan is a document that allows you to specify your wishes for medical care in the event that you’re incapacitated. This includes decisions about whether or not to accept life-prolonging treatments, and also decisions about where you want to receive treatment and who should make these decisions on your behalf.
The most important thing to remember is that an advance healthcare plan is not a will—it’s simply instructions for medical providers. And it doesn’t just apply to end-of-life situations! You can use an advance healthcare plan to discuss any future medical treatment, including:
- Receiving or refusing certain medical treatments
- Choosing where you’d like to be treated (home vs. hospital)
- Who should make medical decisions on your behalf when necessary
Considering the above, it becomes clear that everyone needs an advance care plan, regardless of their age or health. The earlier you start planning, the better placed you are to ensure that your wishes are respected.
Myend’s Advanced Care Plan
Now you understand what advanced care planning is and why it’s important. But it might sound like a complex document to put together. With Myend’s help though, this chore becomes an easy step-by-step process. Our digital advanced care plan is detail-oriented while remaining very easy to use. Even the ones among us with less experience with digital documents, will find it extremely easy to navigate our document.
You just need to fill in the gaps with your personal information and answer some straightforward yes or no questions. Before you know it you’ll have your own advance care document in your hands! And the great thing is that you can always update it and even have it signed by witnesses. This is of course optional but the signature of a witness may verify your own identity and wishes.
Align your end of life plans
Keep in mind that our advanced care plan is no substitute for other end of life care documents such as a POLST, the medical Power of Attorney or even Myend’s euthanasia statement. Instead, it works together with such documents and your wishes need to align among all of these plans.
Advance care planning is one of the most important parts of end of life planning. In most cases it makes sense if that’s the first document you want to create once you start your end of life planning. The more detailed it is, the better your physicians, nurses and family members will be able to follow your instructions. Always make sure that your instructions comply with local and federal regulations otherwise your loved ones will have difficulty implementing them.
End of life planning includes many more aspects of care, dying, death and even post-mortem affairs. Curious to explore more of them? Sign up today to create your own end of life plan in clear, simple and fast steps.