Advance Care Planning: Start the Conversation Today

April 12, 2016

This Saturday is National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD) – a national observance that focuses on educating adults about the importance of advance care planning. There is no better time than right now to begin a conversation with your family about your wishes.

So what is advance care planning? Advance Care Planning is a process that helps you decide what medical care and treatment you may need, if you are unable to speak for yourself. And now is the best time to begin this conversation with your family and physician, while you are well and able to make those decisions with a clear mind. Planning and making your wishes known ahead of time will give you and your loved one a peace of mind.

There are several steps to this process. First, you want to take the time to really think about what type of medical care and treatment you would want if something happened to you. No one wants to imagine being in this situation, but wouldn’t you rather make those decisions now and take that burden away from your loved ones if something should happen to you?

Once you have thought about your wishes, talk to your family and physician about your decisions. Finally, and a very important step, is to put your wishes into writing on an advance directive.

Advance health care directives may include any of the following:

  • a Health Care Power of Attorney
  • a Declaration of a Desire for a Natural Death
  • An Advance Instruction for Mental Health Treatment; or
  • Declaration of an Anatomical Gift

Many people do not understand the advance care planning process – or quite frankly, do not want to think about it. Hospice of Wilson Medical Center staff is available to educate you on the importance of this process and guide you through it. Hospice of Wilson Medical Center focuses on living with peace of mind, comfort and dignity.  Advanced Care Planning is one way to achieve that.

In honor of National Health Care Decisions Day, this Friday, April 15, Wilson Medical Center’s Hospice team will be at several locations in the community to provide information about advance care planning and educate you on how to start the process. Throughout the day, our team will be at Gee Corbett Village Apartments, the Wilson County Senior Activity Center, Reid Street Community Center, the Wilson County Health Department and Parker’s Barbecue. Please stop by and gather the gift of knowledge that the Hospice Team can provide to you.

If you would like more information about advance care planning or any of Hospice’s services, call 252.399.8924.

Monique Lee is a registered nurse and the Hospice manager at Wilson Medical Center.