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Start now, plan ahead for future healthcare decisions

Start now, plan ahead for future healthcare decisions
April 16 is National Healthcare Decisions Day. While many people don’t plan to have to make serious healthcare decisions for themselves or their loved ones, when the time comes to start thinking about such decisions, it’s better to be prepared than have to think in the moment.

For Sharon Brown of Mattoon, this process of planning for the future is personal, and one she is glad she thought through.

Sharon-1.jpgAfter the loss of her first husband, Sharon knew that making healthcare decisions in advance was going to be something that would be beneficial to not only her, but for the rest of her loved ones as well. After contacting a representative at Carle a few years later, Sharon began the process of arranging decisions ahead of time for herself and her second husband.

“The many different forms can often be confusing, and to have someone walk me though them and what each of them mean for future care was so helpful,” Brown said. “I always thought this was something for the elderly or those who are very sick, but that’s not true.”

Brown explained that she participated in a day of training with a group of others planning for their future. Carle team members assist with documenting your decisions, and once completed, it can be viewed in your MyCarle account and is readily available in case of emergency.

“There are a lot of things healthcare providers need to know about your healthcare wishes in an emergency, and planning ahead and having this readily available for a provider or nurse who needs them is so important,” Brown said.

Jeanny Douglas, BSN, Advance Care Planning supervisor says she hopes that National Healthcare Decisions Day will be the spark that starts these conversation for families across the region.

“We face choices in our life every day, and healthcare choices may be the most challenging,” Douglas said.
“Taking the first steps to have these conversations and completing some of the necessary documents is a great start to assuring your wishes are known an honored."

She notes that Carle’s team of facilitators make the experience easy for those interested and that a facilitator is ready and willing to meet with anyone curious about beginning the process.

Help others honor your healthcare choices by thinking about your plans. Here’s how to start.
  • Talk about the care you want with your family, friends, clergy and physician.
  • Write your thoughts and decisions in an advance directive. These serve in the event you cannot verbalize these decisions for yourself.
  • Consider meeting with a Carle Health facilitator to learn about the advance care process and answer any questions you have about planning for the future.
  • Make these plans available to your healthcare organization, family, and attorney
You can complete your advance directive orally or in writing. Putting your plan in writing helps people accurately remember your plan, makes it easier to communicate to health providers and assures they know yourSharon-3.jpg healthcare agent. Find helpful information and advance care planning tools at carle.org.

“It’s just so important,” Brown said. “People think that it won’t happen to them, but it can. When my second husband passed, I knew exactly what decisions to make on his behalf—something I didn’t have before. I didn’t have to ask myself, ‘did I do the right thing?’”.

Sharon, an employee at Carle Mattoon, is now an advance care facilitator herself helping others walk through the process she herself has been through.

Bring complete advance directive paperwork to your next appointment at Carle to have it added to your medical record. Patients may also upload documents through MyCarle or mail them to Health Information Management.

If you have any questions about the advance care planning process, call (217) 326-9040 or email ACP@carle.org.

Categories: Community

Tags: advance care planning, healthcare decisions

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