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Advance Health Care Planning

 Advance Health Care Planning 4/7/17Life can change suddenly. Unexpected accidents, strokes, or illnesses can quickly change our status, circumstances and situations.

When “something” happens and it leaves people unable to speak for themselves, family members and health-care providers may be uncertain about how to proceed with their care. Loved ones can feel overwhelmed if they don’t know what types of treatment options you would consider.

By doing advance planning now, before you “have to,” you can make the decisions easier for them.  Advance planning is the process of deciding your own future health care and communicating these wishes in the form of a written health care directive.

The North Dakota State University Extension Services has resources on its Aging Well website at www.ag.ndsu.edu/aging to help you with advance care planning.

The week of April 16-22 will be National Healthcare Decisions Week.

How do you prepare a directive?

  • Think about what would be important to you (based on your personal values and beliefs) if you become very ill or are injured seriously.
  • Understand medical treatment options. Talk with your health-care provider if necessary.
  • Discussion your thoughts, concerns and choices with those close to you.
  • Choose a loved one to speak for you if you no longer can speak for yourself.
  • Prepare a health care directive.

Health-care providers and nurses in clinics, hospitals or skilled nursing facilities can answer many of the questions you may have about advance care planning. Faith community (parish) nurses, social workers and chaplains also may be available to provide you with assistance.

Most organizations have educational brochures that explain cardiopulmonary resuscitation, artificial hydration and nutrition, and other related issues usually addressed in a health care directive.

The best time to develop a plan is when you are healthy. Planning for end-of-life care is something that can be done, just like planning for other important events in our life, such as the birth of a baby, going on a trip, heading off to college and retirement. Contact the Extension Office or visit our website for more information on this topic.                                                                                    

Photo Source: https://pixabay.com/en/ambulance-doctor-students-game-2166079/  (downloaded 4/11/17)

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