Imagine getting that awful phone call from a hospital saying your loved one is in the ER following a car accident or some other type of traumatic event.
You rush to the hospital only to find your loved one is on life support and you are asked the question, do you want them to stay on life support or not? Is there a health care directive in place? Does your loved one have a health care advocate who can speak for them since they are unable to speak for themselves? Have they had this conversation with you if something like this should ever happen?
According to an AARP survey, “More than 90 percent of people think it is important to have conversations about end-of-life with their loved ones, yet less than 30 percent have done so. Similarly, 70 percent of people say they want to die at home, but, 70 percent die in hospitals or institutions.”
According to Honoring Choices of Minnesota,” The most important part of advance care planning is the conversations you have with your family and friends. Writing down our wishes is only helpful if the people in your life who will be involved know about them and understand them.”
Having this conversation is most helpful when all the family can be present whether in person or by conference call. In some cases, families benefit from a facilitator to assist in managing these conversations. A Caregiver Support Coach or Geriatric Care Manager are trained to assist with these types of conversations.
The conversation must allow the loved one to feel free to share their thoughts and wishes regarding end of life. This is the time to hear what their feelings are regarding life support, who they would like as their healthcare agent if they are no longer able to express their wishes, and whether they want to try and be at home at end of life or in a facility. Having this conversation is one of the greatest gifts a person can give their family.
There are several ways to complete a Health Care Directive. Ask your doctor, go on-line for different forms making sure it is one that is legal in Minnesota, or an attorney can assist as well.
There are a few options to finding someone to assist you with filling out a Health Care Directive, but you could start by calling a Geriatric Care Manager Laurel Hed at 218-303-9549. You can also call 218-303-9549 to set up a meeting with a facilitator on Advance Care Planning.
Once you have completed your Health Care Directive make sure you make copies for your Health Care Agents as well as the clinic, hospital, family and keep your original somewhere easy to access…. not in your safe.
This could be your final Gift to your family.