Plan for the Unexpected
Posted on Oct 25, 2012 | 0 comments
Healthcare Decisions Week Is Oct. 28 to Nov. 3: Have You Completed an Advance Health Care Directive Yet?
Serious accident or illness can happen to anyone, which is why it is a good idea to fill out an Advance Health Care Directive (AHCD). This simple document can be an invaluable guide for your loved ones in the event you are unable to make health care decisions for yourself.
“An AHCD can include the wish to not be resuscitated, but it doesn’t have to,” says Vivien D’Andrea, M.D., FACP, an internal medicine specialist at PAMF’s Mountain View Center. “If your wish is to have every possible effort made to prolong your life, you can express that in your AHCD.”
AHCDs also allow you to designate a person you trust to make decisions on your behalf. This person can be a relative or a friend. “Preferably, the person you pick should be someone who lives locally or at least is easily reachable by phone,” Dr. D’Andrea says.
You can also specify who you do not want involved in making decisions about your care. “This can be important in situations where the closest family member in the eyes of the law may not be the person you would want involved in your care,” Dr. D’Andrea says. “For example, if you are estranged from your spouse but still married, you can state that you don’t want your spouse to make decisions for you.”
Because copies of an AHCD are just as legally valid as the original, you can maximize the odds that your AHCD will be quickly located in an emergency by giving copies to friends, family and your primary care doctor. If you are a PAMF patient your doctor will ensure your AHCD is scanned into your electronic medical record.
What’s POLST Got to Do With It?
A physician’s order for life-sustaining treatment (POLST) complements an AHCD. This document, signed by both you and your doctor, details the type of medical treatment you want at the end of your life. Find out more about POLST or ask your doctor about this form.
Ready to Fill Out an AHCD?
You’ll find AHCD forms on PAMF’s website in English and Spanish, or you can stop by one of our four Community Health Resource Centers where our trained staff and volunteers can print a copy and help answer any questions you might have. For hours, location and more information, contact your nearest Community Health Resource Center:
- Dublin: 925-875-6150
- Fremont: 510-623-2231
- Mountain View: 650-934-7380
- Palo Alto: 650-614-3200
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