Category Archives: Advance directive

National Healthcare Decisions Day 2014

Wednesday, April 16, marks the 7th annual National Healthcare Decisions Day. The event was started by an elder law attorney in Richmond to call attention to the need for all of us to make important choices now.

This year Hope Hospice will present Informational Events on Wednesday, April 16, to share information about these decisions. The events will be held from 11:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on April 16 at Chesterfield Mall in the Food Court and at the Des Peres Schnucks grocery store.

Personnel from Hope Hospice will be at both locations to answer questions about Advance Directives. We will also have a representative from an elder law firm on hand at each location to answer basic questions about certain legal issues.

For those who have not considered issuing an Advance Directive, Hope Hospice will provide printed information and forms to those who visit our Informational Event.

For those who have given serious thought to these major life choices, Hope Hospice will provide forms that can be completed and notarized on site.

Many of us know friends and relatives who have had to make agonizing decisions regarding the healthcare of a loved one. In many cases, these decisions (and the conversations leading up to them) can lead to family discord and hard feelings.

We at Hope Hospice work to guide patients in making these (and other) important decisions as soon as they come on to our patient roll. When patients are not of sound mind and unable to make their choices known, family members may then be faced with tough decisions.

National Healthcare Decisions Day allows each of us to assert our own preferences for healthcare in the latter stages of our lives. We invite you to join us at Chesterfield Mall or the Des Peres Schnucks on April 16.

We also suggest you visit the National Healthcare Decisions Day website. Click HERE to be linked to nhdd.org.

For more information about the event on April 16 or answers to general questions about hospice care, call Hope Hospice at 314-984-9800.

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National Healthcare Decisions Day

Tuesday, April 16 is probably just another day to you. But it should be a day for you to consider important decisions involving key members of your family—including you, yourself.

National Healthcare Decisions Day, April 16, is a day to think about advance planning for the end of your life and the end of your loved ones’ lives.

But, wait, you say, everybody’s healthy and nobody is facing any sort of health crisis. That makes now an ideal time to think about all those relevant questions. Life-threatening medical conditions can occur suddenly. Accidents happen.

If you haven’t personally experienced the agony of making a decision regarding a family member’s treatment, you probably know someone who has. They can be marked by heated discussions and lead to personal anguish and family discord. Sometimes these decisions may be less difficult to make, but often they are grueling.

You can spare your family this painful experience by deciding now, when your mind is clear, the types of actions you would prefer to be taken on your behalf. You can make your wishes known before a crisis occurs. You can assign a “durable power of attorney” designation to your spouse, your partner, a child or other family member or friend.

In Missouri, our attorney general’s website has a form that we at Hope Hospice recommend for patients and family members. The form allows you to make end of life decisions. It also has guidance to help you make those decisions. Click HERE to obtain the form.

2013 will mark the 6th annual National Healthcare Decisions Day. NHDD was founded by attorney Nathan Kottkamp in Richmond, Virginia. NHDD has a website with much good information about advance directives and living wills. We encourage you to visit the site by clicking HERE.

As the video on the NHDD website asks, “Who will speak for you when you can’t speak for yourself?” Make those decisions now. You may not be able to make them later.

Do You Have Plans For The End of Your Life?

A powerful, personal segment aired on NBC’s Rock Center TV show in December. The report featured a couple in LaCrosse, Wisconsin at a local hospital that interviews patients to get their input on the care they prefer to receive.

The husband has inoperable lung cancer. Watching the man and his wife answer the questions may make you cry, just as the conversation brought tears to the couple’s eyes. But both recognize the value of advance directive. You can view the segment, which runs just over 8 minutes, by clicking here.

When a patient is unable, due to physical or mental incapacitation, to communicate his or her desires about treatment, the advance directive provides guidance for both family members and medical personnel.

At Hope Hospice, we provide new patients with a form called The Five Wishes. They are asked to select their Health Care Agent to make health care decisions “when I can’t make them for myself.” Patients are also asked about the kind of treatment they want or don’t want. They can indicate it they wish to be placed on life support or not.

Wishes include “my wish for how comfortable I want to be” and “my wish for how I want people to treat me.” As the note on the front of the form indicates, “Contents are of significant value and, if notarized, are recognized as a legal document.”

The Missouri Attorney General’s office has an excellent Life Choices form available online, which allows medical patients to designate wishes for end of life. This pdf also lists many things to be concerned about as you or a loved one face the end of life. You may download that form by clicking here. Please check out the useful information on page 24 of the form about hospice care.

Of course, the value of advance directive is realized when death is close at hand. Should medical staff do everything possible to keep the patient alive or should they focus on making the patient comfortable? When that question is answered, in advance, by the patient, end of life decisions are less stressful for all.

We at Hope Hospice are always happy to share our Five Wishes form with interested parties and we are ready to share our thoughts about the Life Choices form from the Attorney General’s office. Call us anytime with your questions about hospice care at 314-984-9800.