Take Charge of Your Health - There is No Time Like the Present - Advance Planning
When people voice their wishes and doctors honor them,
patients spend less time in intensive care and more time at home,
suffer less at the end-of-life, and even live longer.
-Atul Gawande, MD
There's No Time Like the Present -
While medical education and health care professionals focus on treating and curing, it is critical patients and doctors speak openly and candidly about the difficult and emotional issues related to end-of-life. Although this subject is challenging, being proactive about these conversations provides patients and loved ones alike with a sense of control and peace of mind.
Beyond the conversation, end-of-life planning involves documentation. It provides you with the opportunity to record your wishes, beliefs, and preferences about your health care, and provides your family and friends with critical information about your estate, legal and financial matters.
Planning and preparedness for end-of-life brings many benefits:
An improved quality of life for the patient with adherence to their specific wishes
Preservation of the patient’s dignity
Increase in family agreement, unity and engagement
Reduction in the psychological burden on the patient, family and caregivers
Reduction in ineffective or inappropriate treatments
Reduction in costs associated with unwanted treatments
More efficient use of a family’s time in dealing with the affairs of their loved one.
End-of-life planning involves consideration of a comprehensive set of issues including:
your health history, medication list and the members of your medical team
your family members and their contact information
your medical proxy, i.e. the person you have designated to make medical decisions for you if you are unable to do so
details (including location) concerning your assets, properties, legal and financial information (including your advisors, banking and investment accounts, insurance policies, on-line payment and computer passwords, power of attorney/trustees, executor, living trust, will…)
your views on spiritual support, integrative therapies, home care, hospice, assisted living, skilled nursing care, palliative care and organ donation
your favorite memories; your primary career and life accomplishments and what you are most proud of
your wishes for your obituary, burial and memorial service.
Hospice Giving Foundation based in Monterey California provides a valuable tool for end of life planning. It is entitled “Notes to My Family”. To download a free copy of the planning tool, click here and also review the organization’s website. Sharing your feelings and the details of your affairs is a great gift to your loved ones. When the time comes, as it does for each of us, it will enable them to focus on their memories of you and celebrate a life well-lived.
As we kick off the holiday season this week with Thanksgiving, begin the conversation with your loved ones and make end-of-life planning a New Year’s Resolution you intend to keep.
As always, join us on the Health-E³ website blog page. We look forward to hearing your thoughts and experiences. Check out our newest page on Personalized Care. Feel free to ask a question about anything on the website or suggest ideas for additional helpful information. And remember, it's up to you to Take Charge of Your Health.