Are you prepared?
According to The Conversation Project National Survey (2013) 90% of people say that talking with their loved ones about future health care decisions is important However, only 27% actually have done so.
Healthcare professional often find themselves caring for patients who, assuming the end of life to be far in the future, have made no indication of their wishes regarding treatment options, resuscitation, or the preservation of life through artificial means.
Trying to educate patients and help them complete an advance healthcare directive in the midst of a crisis is inappropriate because they are not in an ideal state of mind to make competent decisions.
Hence it is essential that individuals and their families/caregivers act sooner than later to insure better informed decisions about their end of life and advocate the arrangements and instructions for themselves prior to an emergency situation.
The National Center for Health Statistics (2010) found that 70% of people they surveyed said they prefer to die at home, yet 76% of people die in an institution (hospital, nursing home or long-term-care facility). Advance Care Planning therefore becomes a necessity, as the instructions and arrangements one needs for care take on a new importance when one becomes admitted to one of these institutions.
How much time might one have to make preparations? That’s a great question. Since only 10-15% of Americans experience a sudden death, one should assume that a period of “extended care” will be required.
I will be posting separately about Advance Directives, but want to convey the essential message that we should all have these instructions completed, and accessible to family/caregivers/first responders who need to know what you desire be done/withheld.