Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Advance Directives

Advance Directives:
Important Healthcare Decisions Now for Peace of Mind Later

Planning is what we do. We plan our work schedules, social lives, meetings, dinner dates, when we can afford a new pair of shoes, what time to work out and even for special events. If we plan for all of this and more, why not plan for peace of mind? This is the question that really gets me thinking, so I would like to share with you one way to get one more thing checked off your list of things to do, prepare an advance directive, important healthcare decisions.
An advance directive is a fancy way of saying preparing legal documents that “direct” what to do in “advance” before a crisis strikes. In short, an advance directive includes two legal documents that protect your right to refuse or request medical treatment in the even you lose the ability to make decisions for yourself. The two legal documents include the “Illinois Power of Attorney for Health Care” and “Illinois Living Will.”
Our bereavement counselor, Stefanie Hansberry, passed along a wonderful tip that I also want to share that is a great extension of preparing these documents. She encourages people to get a business card sized piece of paper and put it in your wallet. On that card note your name, who your healthcare power of attorney is, their contact information and any other information you see fit. Keep it simple. This allows people around you who may not know your healthcare decisions, in the time of crisis, to know who to call or what to do.  Great idea!
The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization provides great information that I encourage you to read through when making these decisions, http://www.caringinfo.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3284. Furthermore, this website http://www.idph.state.il.us/public/books/advin.htm provides the documents that can be used to make these decisions. So take one hour to make these decisions, share them with those you care about and give yourself and others peace of mind. We are here to help if you need assistance with any steps along the way.
Help us share, educate, and reach out by subscribing to our blog and suggesting it to friends who will spread our message: Hospice of Southern Illinois is here to teach you what hospice is, what we are about, and what we can do for you and your loved ones. No one has to go through the dying process alone. Hospice of Southern Illinois can help.

Live well, laugh often, and love much,
Christine Juehne
Hospice of Southern Illinois
Community Education

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