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Planning Ahead of a Healthcare Crisis

By Meghana Giridhar,
April 14

National Healthcare Decisions Day is coming up in a few days. It’s an initiative to encourage seniors or those with an illness to plan in advance about issues related to their care. It is also a day for family members and other care partners such as doctors to acknowledge and support these decisions. A medical issue is often an unannounced event and could leave the person incapable of clarifying their preferences. Questions about medical treatments and other care-related aspects, if left completely open for family members to address, can often lead to disagreement and stress. Making a healthcare plan for the future is essential to ease the burden on family members and ensure that the care plan is carried out according to one’s wishes. Such planning is termed as advance care planning, and putting it down on paper and legalizing it is called an advance directive. This plan can be made at any time of your life and can be adjusted to accommodate new circumstances. An advance directive should be completed before any illness. There are two forms of advance directives: 1.    Living Will: This is a written document expressing care wishes if a person is incapacitated and covers aspects such as pain management, food and liquid issues and life-support decisions. 2.    Durable Power of Attorney or Healthcare Proxy – The difference with this document is that is allows a person to legally appoint someone to make healthcare decisions on their behalf. It is important to know that the appointee cannot make decisions if you are capable of doing so. Some other important advance planning terms include: 1.    Health care Representative – This is the person appointed to receive health care information and make decisions when the person can no longer do so. 2.    POST (Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment) – This document detailing end-of-life preferences is signed by the doctor as a medical order after having discussed with you and your health care representative. The next step in planning is to: 1.    Keep vital information organized in an accessible place: This includes emergency contact numbers, medications and illnesses being treated for. 2.    Medicare and Insurance: Medicare copies and insurance cards should be distributed to trusted family members but one should never part with the originals. April 16th, 2015 is when we celebrate National Healthcare Decisions Day. It is a day to remind oneself of how being careless with healthcare planning can cost yourself as well as your family their peace of mind. Give yourself and your loved ones this gift by planning ahead. References: Click here to watch eCareDiary’s Video Interview on End-of-Life Planning. Meghana Giridhar serves as Content Coordinator and is part of eCareDiary's founding team.  In her role, she oversees and edits content across all of eCareDiary's media platforms. If you found this article useful, please click the “Share This” icon below to make it available to your family and friends.

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