We take time to plan out the details of our lives such as vacations, family reunions, education and weddings. Yet many of us have not taken the time to discuss our health care wishes.
Advance care planning ensures that your personal wishes regarding your health care are known by your family, friends and doctors. This is especially important if you have a serious or life-threatening illness and are unable to communicate.
Advance care planning may help you −
- Understand your treatment options
- Define your health care goals
- Weigh your options about the care and treatment you may want
- Make decisions about choosing a health care agent and / or completing an advance directive
- Your health care agent is the person you choose to speak for you if you become injured or ill and unable to communicate.
- An advance directive is a written statement of your wishes regarding medical treatment, often including a living will. This ensures your wishes are carried out if you are unable to communicate them to a doctor.
- Discuss your wishes with your family, friends, doctors and other health care providers