What Makes Life Worth Living?
What makes life worth living? What do you consider quality of life? What do you value?
When these questions are being asked by your doctor, chances are Advance Health Care Planning is the topic of conversation. Advance Health Care Planning is the process of determining what kind of medical treatment is important to you before an illness or injury occurs.
Unexpected things happen in life to our family, our friends, and our selves. Thinking about dealing with an illness, accident or injury can be scary. Talking about it to our families and friends can feel uneasy. Most of us tend to avoid the subject, or think it will never happen to us. While it may not be possible to always prevent the unexpected, we can take steps to plan for it.
Why is Advance Health Care Planning important? Imagine one moment being healthy driving to work, and in the next moment family is gathered at your bedside because a car accident left you dependent on life support machines. Now a doctor is asking your loved ones to make decisions; decisions about what you consider quality of life, what you value and what kind of care should be provided. If there has been no conversation, no written instructions, no Advance Health Care Planning, then truly your family will not know. All they can do is guess.
Advance Health Care Planning takes the guess work out of your family’s hands and puts control back into yours. Each of us has a right to decide for ourselves what is important to us and what medical treatment we would want or not want in the event of a future illness or accident.
Advance Health Care Planning allows you to create legal documents called Advance Directives that state your wishes now about what kind of care is important if you are unable to speak for yourself in the future. Advance Directives also allow you to choose a trusted adult who will make medical decisions for you based on your wishes.
Advance Health Care Planning is the process of communicating your wishes to your family and doctor. Advance Directives are legal documents that make sure your wishes are honored. When you complete your Advance Directives, you give your family peace of mind. What you get is dignity and control. If you are age 18 or over, now is the time to start planning for health care decisions that are best for you. It begins with a conversation.
For more information please consider attending “Honoring Your Wishes: A Community Conversation on Advance Health Care Planning” on Tuesday April 19th from 6:30-8:00pm at The Bull at Pinehurst Farms Heritage House Event Center, Sheboygan Falls. This informational session will include video clips, panel discussion and resources to help you start a conversation with your family. This event is free, but registration is appreciated. Please contact Aurora Sheboygan Community Outreach for information: 920-451-5513.
Lee Mitchler is a social worker at Sharon S. Richardson Community Hospice