Why is Advance Care Planning important?
Advance Care Planning is a lifelong process of thinking about what matters to you — your values, goals and preferences — and the type of care you would like to receive throughout your adult life. It is also about talking to the people who matter most to you and your health-care providers about your wishes and appointing someone — a substitute decision-maker — who will speak for you if you cannot speak for yourself.
Five steps of Advance Care Planning
Think: What’s important to you? What do you want the people caring for you to know about your values and beliefs and the kind of care you want?
Learn: Ask questions about your health and care. What are the benefits and risks of different ways to manage your health?
Decide: If you are ever in a situation where you can’t make your own healthcare decisions, who would you like to have make them for you? Choose a substitute decision-maker who will understand your wishes and make the decisions that you would.
Talk: Tell the people who matter most to you and your health-care providers what is important to you and the kind of care you want.
Record: Record your wishes and share them with the people who matter most to you, your substitute decision-maker and your health-care providers.
Advance Care Planning isn’t a one time event. People’s wishes may change over time. For example, when people are in their 30s, the kind of care they want and the benefits and risks of treatments may be very different than when they are in their 80s. That’s why people should revisit their Advance Care Planning — just the way they would review their will or financial plan if their finances or family situation changed. Many families report that having Advance Care Planning conversations improves communication and reduces conflict. It helps family, friends and health-care professionals work together to provide the care the person wants.
To learn more about Advance Care Planning, read the full article here.