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The Palliative Care team at Community Regional Medical Center encourages you to complete your Advance Healthcare Directive – a legal document created to record your medical preferences for treatment in the event you are unable to make your own healthcare decisions. On National Healthcare Decisions Day, Wednesday, April 16, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the hospital cafeteria, members of the Palliative Care team will be available to help you complete your directive or answer questions that can help you get started.
Getting sick or injured isn’t planned, and in the blink of an eye we can find ourselves in a situation where we are not able to speak and make our wishes known. No one thinks it will be them, until the unexpected strikes. Your family and doctors will turn to your advance directives if you're unable to make your own health care decisions and by having written instructions, you can help reduce confusion or disagreement among family members.
Who knows your wishes for healthcare if you are too sick to speak? Do you know what your loved-ones want for care if they get sick or injured – do they have an advanced directive? And would your siblings want something different for your terminally-ill parent – causing a relational hardship because there’s no advanced directive speaking on behalf of your ill parent’s wishes?
Yes, these things are scary to think about and much like disaster planning – we avoid it. But, as healthcare professionals, we ask every patient on admission if they have an advance directive. If they don’t have a directive, we ask if they would like to give a verbal directive – if they are able.
It’s much more difficult to have a conversation with our patients about their healthcare wishes if we haven’t even considered our own. As much as we fight it, we will all have a last day. Having a directive helps make sure our wishes for these circumstances, to include “the end of our lives,” are known and followed. As healthcare providers, we have seen the anguish on the faces of families having to make tough decisions for their loved ones – decisions that were so much harder to make because no one ever talked about these important decisions. Take a step to protect yourself and your loved-ones if the unexpected happens. Get the directive done. They can be revoked or revised any time you want.