Too often, people do not give adequate thought to advanced care planning until it is too late. While it may seem like a touchy subject, or something you do not want to think about, planning your care in advance of emergencies is paramount to making sure you get the level of care that you want and deserve. If you have never thought much about advanced planning of your healthcare, here are five things you should know.
1. What is An Advanced Care Plan?
An advanced care plan is exactly what it sounds like. It is a plan you make in advance of ever getting sick or suffering an emergency, and details the steps your doctors and health care team can take in providing health care, in the event that you are unable to explain or make decisions about your own health care. For instance, if you have a care plan in place, and then were to slip into a coma, your family and doctors would have a document explaining exactly how you would like to be treated.
2. Considerations for Advanced Care Planning
Although thinking about how you hope to face your own death or disability may be uncomfortable, talking about the issues that could arise will go a long way to making sure you get the care you need. Start by making a list of your healthcare concerns, life values, spiritual beliefs, and anything else you think may be important to your long-term health or funeral arrangements.
One thing that is particularly important to your plan is to decide on a friend or family member that can make decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so. It is important that you choose someone who thoroughly understands your values and desires.
3. Consulting an Attorney
Planning your financial and medical future can be difficult to do on your own. For this reason, many people opt to consult an elder care attorney who has experience working in these issues. Your attorney can help you create a legal framework that ensures your wishes are seen to. One such document you and your attorney may work together to produce is called a ‘living will’ this document clearly states the type of medical treatments that are acceptable to you, as well as those that are not.
4. Medical Well-Being
While your living will provides detailed instructions about the type of care you want or do not want, you may also want to work with your attorney to file a medical power of attorney or to officially appoint a health care surrogate. This is a legally binding document that names someone who will make your health care decisions on your behalf.
5. Financial Well-Being
Beyond just protecting your physical health, advanced care planning also involves protecting your financial health. Far too often, when a person is beset with an accident or illness that claims their health, they have failed to make a plan for their own healthcare or the dispersion of their personal effects in the event that they pass away. Filing a living trust is a good way to protect your assets in the event that you fall ill or pass away from your illness.