The Importance of Advance Care Planning

If you were incapacitated or seriously ill, do you know what lifesaving measures you would want or who would make that decision on your behalf? If you answered no, then it’s important to plan for your future healthcare decisions today.

April 16 is National Healthcare Decisions Day, a time to raise awareness of the importance of and to take part in your advance care planning. That means having conversations with your family and healthcare team about the care you would like in the future if you are unable to speak for yourself.

Doing so now allows you to make informed decisions about your healthcare preferences and makes sure your family and healthcare team respect and follow your wishes.

Completing an advance directive is the best way to make sure your future healthcare decisions are known and followed.

With an advance directive you can:

    • Express what type of medical treatment you want or do not want, including the use of special equipment (e.g., dialysis machines or ventilators) to help keep you alive
    • Sign a do not resuscitate order (instructions not to use cardiopulmonary resuscitation [CPR] if your breathing or heartbeat stops)
    • Indicate whether or not you want to donate your organs, eyes or other tissues after death
    • Name the person you want to make all your healthcare decisions if you are unable to do so

The benefits of completing an advance care plan far outweigh any discomfort you may feel about thinking of yourself being incapacitated or seriously ill. It allows you to be in control of what healthcare decisions are made, gives your loved ones peace of mind, minimizes stress and reduces any potential conflicts among family members.

Plan ahead for your healthcare preferences and receive assistance in completing an advance directive on Tuesday, May 25 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Appointments are required. Please call 410-871-7000 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

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