Advanced care planning isn't
just for seniors. Anyone over 18 should
make their choices known in the event of an unforeseen medical emergency. It's easier than you think but it means you
have to start the conversation and you can start it today.
Dr. Patricia Bomba knows what she wants when it comes to health care. So does the rest of her family. Thanks to the fact that she's filled out a health care proxy designating an individual to make healthcare decisions on her behalf in the event she's unable to do so.
She says, "It's not about just death and
dying. It can be about acute illnesses or injury and potential
recovery. Medicine is so complex today
that we can have a period where we aren't able to make to decisions and someone
needs to stand in our shoes and make those decisions." Doctor Bomba is part of
the national initiative for advanced care planning.
She recalls cases like the one surrounding
Terry Schiavo, a woman who was kept alive for fifteen years through the mean of
life support.The two sides of her family
battled the issue in court to either keep her alive with medical technology or
to let her pass on. Both sides of her
family argued they knew what Terry Schiavo would have wanted.
But without a Health Care Proxy Form of her
own, doctors and courts didn't know what she wished because she couldn't
communicate nor had she selected someone to make her end-of-life wishes
known. Doctors recommend having a family
conversation about values and the quality of life you want to lead. Also, it's best to learn who can execute
Dr. Bomba says it is a process about more than just forms. She says, "It relieves the burden from families It's really a gift to the family. It's a gift to our family and a gift to ourselves. But really, it's a gift to our family to be able to say this is what I want. This is how I want you to behave, and it avoids conflict and confusion at the end."
Making these decisions now can relieve an emotional burden down the road. Through different states of life your plans for healthcare can change. So you want to review and update your plans as you age. For more information you can visit compassionandsupport.org