Speak Up: Why Advance Care Planning is Critical

Do you know what healthcare treatments you would and would not want if you could not speak for yourself? Do other people know what your wishes are?

Whether we plan for it or not, sudden illness or accidents can happen to anyone at any age. It is important to make your healthcare wishes known in case you are unable to speak for yourself in those times of crisis.

“Through the process of advance care planning, you can create a guide for your doctors and loved ones to make healthcare decisions on your behalf,” said Alicia Lehman, system director of Advanced Care Management at Memorial Health System. “Most importantly, knowing your wishes can give your loved ones peace of mind.”

What is advance care planning?

Advance care planning is the process of learning about treatment options, thinking about your values, talking about decisions, and documenting your wishes. Some questions that might come up during advance care planning are:

  • Who should speak for you?
  • What are your concerns?
  • What gives your life the most meaning?
  • What do you want and not want at the end-of-life?
  • What do you want to be sure your doctors, family, and friends know about your wishes?

“While they may not be easy to answer and discuss, these are questions you need to think about and talk about,” continued Lehman. “This requires time for honest discussion, reflection, and planning and ideally, takes place before a healthcare crisis.”

Talking About Your Decisions

Talking about your decisions is one of the most important things you can do. It provides a valuable opportunity to discover important information about yourself and your loved ones, allows for honest discussion, and can provide comfort to your loved ones if they are faced with difficult decisions. It is up to YOU to initiate

Documenting Your Decisions

Advance directives are legal documents and communication tools to confirm and convey your healthcare decisions. Most individuals complete a Power of Attorney for Healthcare, a legal document that states who you want to make medical decisions about your healthcare. That person is authorized to speak for you only when you want them to, such as when you are unable to make your own medical decisions.

What You Can Do Now

  • Talk to your loved ones
  • Complete an advance directive and share it with your healthcare providers
  • Encourage others to do the same

Need resources for advance care planning?

For resources, including downloadable forms, for advance care planning, please visit our website or contact Memorial Health System’s Advance Care Planning facilitator at (217) 757-7253, Monday – Friday, 8 am – 4:30 pm for:

  • Care planning materials
  • Advance directives
  • Guidance and support