4 Tips for Advanced Care Planning

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As we continue to age, it becomes increasingly important to plan out our future medical care. This planning can be used to express our own individual desires and goals for the rest of our life. For example, some may have goals of continuing to live in the comfort of their own home, while others may enjoy living in an assisted living community. In order to aid in the organizing process, here are four tips to consider when planning for advanced care.

Writing out Wishes
When planning for advanced care, individuals often have to think about various situations and conditions. In order to stay well organized, many have found writing out wishes to be helpful. These wishes can be kept in a notebook designated solely to advanced care planning. This way, when a new wish comes up, individuals will be able to quickly add it to the rest of their wishes.

Communicating These Wishes
After putting them to paper, it is often wise to share your wishes with your loved ones. This is beneficial for two reasons.

First, it allows your loved ones to fully understand what your life wishes and goals truly are. Sometimes loved ones might assume you want something that you really don’t, or vice versa.

Secondly, communicating your wishes allows for the potential improvement of these wishes. For example, perhaps you might have forgotten to consider an important aspect of your future care. Your loved ones can then bring up that which you have forgotten, which thus makes for improved, more well-rounded planning.

Family Comfort
Family comfort has been found to be an important aspects of advanced care planning. For example, over 60% of individuals say that it is “extremely important” that their family is not burdened by tough decisions (Oncolink).

Therefore, in order to remove these burdensome decisions, individuals will consider a variety of occurrences or situations so that any potential decision will be already predetermined.

End-of-Life Care Conversation with Doctor
Another key aspect of advanced care planning is having an end-of-life care conversation with a doctor. These conversations can be as brief or detailed as one may like, but generally, individuals use these conversations to share their life wishes and goals with a medical professional. This way, individuals will be certain that they will have logically considered and planned for any potential health situation.

As a whole, advanced care planning can be a difficult, complicated process. Yet, so often these complications arise as a result of feeling overwhelmed. By considering the aforementioned tips, individuals can make certain that they are utilizing their loved ones and medical doctors as aids in the process of planning for their rest-of-life goals and wishes.

Sources:
http://www.oncolink.org/coping/article.cfm?c=1520&id=7044
https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/advance-care-planning