Advance Care Planning

Speak For Yourself, Plan Your Care

Mother and daughter have conversation about advance care planning.Advance Care Planning is not something you do when you retire, get older, or become ill. Every adult, 18 and up, should have an advance care plan in place in case of emergency. Having a conversation with your loved ones about what you would want if you couldn’t speak for yourself is a tremendous gift. Getting everyone on the same page, even if they don’t agree, saves the people who love you guilt, doubt, worry and conflict at a time that is already difficult. It allows them to be your voice in a crisis, ensuring you get the care that is right for you.

What is advance care planning?

Advance care planning is:

  • For ALL adults, 18 and up
  • Thinking about future healthcare decisions if you had a sudden event (like an accident or illness)
  • Naming people you trust to make decisions for you if you can’t speak for yourself
  • Telling those people what you would want
  • Writing it down
  • Making sure it’s available in an emergency Download an ACP overview or the full ACP packet including all forms.

Download an ACP overview or the full ACP packet including all forms.

What is an advance directive for health care?

Advance directives (AD) are written directions based on your planning that allows you to give specific, written instructions to healthcare providers and loved ones about how much, or how little, medical treatment you would like to receive if you are unable to make decisions for yourself later on. The advance directive will guide your patient advocate, loved ones, and your caregivers when you cannot speak for yourself. Advance directives let you maintain control over your future medical treatments. While Spectrum Health Lakeland supports and encourages your right to an advance directive, lack of an advance directive does not hamper access to care.

Advance directive information is offered upon admission, and is available at any time. All patients who are admitted to Lakeland are asked about their wishes – no matter what kind of procedure they’re having. To download a complimentary copy of the advance directive for health care please click here. For a Spanish version please click here. Also provided is an advance care planning packet that includes an advance directive, and takes a more in-depth look at your values and wishes.

To download a complimentary copy of the advance directive for health care please click here. For a Spanish version click here. Also provided is an advance care planning packet that includes an advance directive, and takes a more in-depth look at your values and wishes.

What is a facilitator?

Facilitators are people who are trained to help you identify what is important to you, help you make

Facilitators are people who are trained to help you identify what is important to you, help you make decisions about your future health care, and help you put your plan in writing. Your decisions may change over time so it is helpful to review your plan yearly or as needed if you are diagnosed with a serious illness or have a sudden serious brain injury.

The facilitator is skilled to help you clarify your personal values, beliefs, and preferences for end of life care. The meeting moves at your own pace, and there is no pressure to influence your treatment preferences.

What is a patient advocate?

Patient advocates are picked by you, and are named in your advance directive. Choosing someone as your patient advocate means you trust this person to make difficult decisions and carry out your wishes.  This person accepts the role of making your health care decisions if you are unable. Patient advocates are named in a specific type of document called a Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare. Naming your patient advocate and declaring your instructions for future health care needs completes your advance directive. Download patient advocate guide.

What else do I need to know?

Patient advocates are chosen by you, and are named in your advance directive. Advocates don’t have to be family, and they don’t have to live close to you – as long as they are reachable by phone, they can speak for you. It’s important to have one, and great if you can have two or three as a backup. That way there’s someone else to step in if your first choice can’t be reached, or if you and your primary advocate are together when something happens. Important qualities to consider in choosing a good advocate are:

  • They must be willing to accept the role
  • They must be willing to talk with you about your goals and preferences. This will be an ongoing conversation throughout your life as your health and circumstances change.
  • They must be willing to follow your decisions, even if they don’t agree with them.
  • They must be able to make decisions in difficult moments, for example if family or caregivers are disagreeing, or if there’s a crisis. Download patient advocate guide.

What else do I need to know?

Below are some links to additional material that can help you make informed decisions

  • Tips for Starting the Conversation – Discussing your wishes with your loved ones is so important, but it can be hard to get started. This list of ideas will help you ease into the conversation.
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) – An information sheet about the risks and benefits of CPR that you can share with people you would like to have conversations with. CPR is not the same as what we all see on television. Get the facts here, so you can make a decision that is right for you.
  • Patient Advocate Guide – You will need to choose someone you trust to speak for you when you can’t speak for yourself. This is an important decision, and a big responsibility. This information sheet will help you determine who to choose, and talk through what would be expected of that person. · Help With Breathing – Learn what you need to know about ventilators, when and how they are used, and what you should think about when making your decisions.
  • Tube Feeding – Get the facts about when tube feeding is helpful, when it isn’t, and what options are available to you.

Make Your Choices Known

Southwest Michigan’s ACP program Speak for Yourself, Plan Your Care is a collaboration of community partners that offers the opportunity for individuals to discuss their healthcare wishes with certified ACP facilitators.

Take advantage of this community program and take a step forward with your plan, wherever you are starting from:

  1. Schedule a conversation with a facilitator to discuss what’s most important to you as you begin your plan
  2. If you have an advance directive in place, review it or to make sure it still reflects your wishes
  3. When you are comfortable with your advance directive, provide copies to your advocates and family so they are prepared to be your voice if something happens
  4. Provide a copy of your advance directive to the admissions department of your local hospital for placement in your electronic medical chart, so it’s easy to find in an emergency

For more information on ACP call (269) 983-8166 or email acp@lakelandhealth.org

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