Column: One of the best decisions you can make…

April 16 is Healthcare Decisions Day. We all make decisions every day, both simple and complicated. We plan ahead for expected events such as vacations, a wedding, or buying a house. It is just as important to plan ahead for the health care you want in the future and at the end of life. Advance Care Planning (ACP) involves making decisions about that care. Advance Care Planning is: 1. Understanding possible future health care choices 2. Thinking about your choices in light of what is important to you 3. Talking about your decisions with loved ones, spiritual advisers, and your doctors 4. Putting your plans in writing by completing advance directives, so that they will be ready when needed. The goal of advance care planning is for you to live in a way that is meaningful to you for as long as you live. Why is Advance Care Planning Important? • Decisions like these are best made before there is a health crisis • Advance care planning is not a single conversation or a one-time signing of forms. Your plans may change as your situation changes. You can make additions or changes as the years go by. • Having these conversations and putting your wishes into writing is a gift to those who love you. It gives them the permission and ability to give you the care that you want if you cannot speak for yourself. Consider the Myths “Only older people need an advance directive.” No matter what the state of your present health, a change such as an accident or a serious illness could occur. Preparing for such a change is important for everyone, no matter how old or young, or how sick or well they may be. Talking about your preferences for future health care is part of this preparation. What we think our loved ones want- and what they think we might want- is often wrong. “If I am going into hospice care, I am going to die immediately.” While hospice is designed for those who have six months or less to live if their illness continues on its current path, people often live longer than six months while receiving hospice care. Several studies have actually shown that patients receiving palliative care and hospice live longer than non-hospice patients receiving more aggressive care. “My doctor, or my family, knows what I want.” You may be right, but it would take the burden off them if you had a specific conversation about your decisions. Then, follow up with a copy of your advance directives that puts what you want into writing. A combination of talking and documenting is the best plan! If you need assistance please contact me at Hospice of Laurens County. We will be more than willing to help you understand Advance Care Planning and how it may benefit you and your family. Our agency has resources available to help you with making health care decisions. Our office is located at 1304 Springdale Drive in Clinton. Our agency began in 1987 and has served thousands of patients over the past 28 years. We provide care wherever the patient calls home. Although the majority of our patients we serve live in Laurens County, we are licensed in 8 counties. Abbeville, Greenwood, Greenville, Spartanburg, Saluda, Laurens, Newberry and Union counties. Our clinical team is led by our Medical Director Patsy Sadler, M.D. Dr. Sadler and the hospice team are here to provide end-of-life care to our community. Hospice of Laurens County has the only inpatient unit in our county (the nearest is 45 minutes away). Most of the care is provided in the patient’s home but the hospice house is a wonderful place where the patient and the family can find peace and comfort. Please contact our office at 864-833-6287 when we can assist. Our website is www.hospiceoflaurenscounty.com. We are here to help. (Jay Wilson is executive director of Hospice of Laurens County.)

My Clinton News

P.O. Box 180
513 North Broad St.
Clinton, SC 29325
Phone: (864) 833-1900
Fax: (864) 833-1902

 

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