Imagine the unthinkable. You suddenly find yourself at a critical point in your life, unable to speak due to an illness or sudden life-changing event. How will people know what health treatments you want? Who would express those wishes for you? What quality of life is sustainable for you and what does that mean?
Thanks to medical advances, people live longer, even with severe health conditions. Medical treatments to extend life can lead to complicated questions about the benefits and length of such treatments, the likelihood of success and even how the treatment will affect a person’s quality of life. Without advance care planning, family members can be left to guess what their loved one would want, which may cause some conflict and even guilt about the decisions made. That is why advance care planning is so important.
Advance care planning includes:
- Getting information on types of life-sustaining treatments available.
- Deciding what types of treatment you would or would not want should you be diagnosed with a life-limiting illness.
- Sharing your personal values with loved ones.
- Completing useful documents that put your wishes into writing regarding preferences for treatment should you be unable to speak for yourself.
Review the Advance Care Planning: Making Your Wishes Known Booklet and An Advance Health Care Directive Form for more information.
Facing Difficult Decisions - Medical Ethics Dilemmas