EACH AND EVERY DAY, we make hundreds of decisions. We decide what time to wake up in the morning, which shoes to wear, what to have for dinner, or what TV show to watch. But have we taken the time to make a decision that could matter the most? Maybe we have waited and not made a decision at all, putting our loved ones into a position to make the decision for us, regardless of what our wishes may have been.
On Thursday, April 16, the country will be celebrating National Healthcare Decisions Day, which was created to raise awareness about end-of-life planning and advance medical directives. It is a day designed to encourage us all to have thoughtful conversations about our healthcare wishes and/or write them down as an advance medical directive. For example, if you develop an aggressive form of cancer, you can state in your advance directive a preference to decline advanced chemotherapy or radiation and instead opt for palliative or hospice care.
By sharing your choices, no one in your family will have to guess what healthcare treatment or care you would want in the event you are unable to communicate or actively participate in the decision making. Open communication and a shared understanding about your values and preferences for treatment can lead to a plan of care that is consistent without any second guessing.
At Good Shepherd Hospice, we are dedicated to helping patients write the final words for the last chapter of their lives with the hope for them to remain as comfortable as possible in their own homes. For more information about advance directives, assistance or any other questions, please call 1-800-544-3280 or visit us online at chaptershealth.org.
This column is sponsored by Good Shepherd Hospice.
column by KENDRA HALL, DO
BIO: Board certified in Family Practice, Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Dr. Kendra Hall received her medical degree from Nova Southeastern University College of Osteopathic Medicine, where she also earned a Master’s degree in Public Health. After serving as a contract physician with Good Shepherd Hospice for seven years, Dr. Hall became the medical director.