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Planning Ahead is the Kindest Gift You Can Give to Yourself and Your Family

Advanced care planning isn’t an easy topic to think about, but taking the time to make your wishes clear is important.

Doing so will guarantee your quality of life regardless of what the future holds and ensure that no matter what circumstances arise, your preferences guide decisions. Having specific instructions in place is the kindest gift you can give to yourself and your family.

While the benefits of advanced care planning are undeniable, taking action can be difficult. “Advance care planning can be an emotional subject, so our goal has always been to create a level of comfort surrounding end-of-life issues and encourage people in our community to begin having these important conversations with their family members,” says Susan de Cuba, president and CEO of Treasure Coast Hospice. “The best time to make plans for your care or the care of a loved one is before you are faced with a medical crisis.”

Here’s some basic information to get you started:

Advance Directive

This is what you ultimately want to create: an advance directive is a written statement that describes your wishes, preferences, and choices regarding end-of-life health care decisions. It’s a tool that can help you think through and communicate your choices so they’re accessible to concerned parties in the event that you’re unable to speak for yourself.

What You Should Include

Some of the things to consider during advance care planning that you might want to include in your advance directive are:

  • In the event of chronic or serious illness, would you want to pursue every medical avenue available to you?
  • What type of pain control do you want and when should it be administered?
  • Do you want to set limits on the type and length of medical treatment?

Consider Using “Five Wishes®” as a Starting Point

“Five Wishes” is an easy-to-use legal document template written in simple language that helps you plan and communicate how you want to be cared for if you become seriously ill.

It helps you express your desires in personal, spiritual, medical and legal matters and meets the legal requirements for an advance directive in 42 states including Florida.

Carefully planning what you would want in the event of a life-limiting illness helps ensure that your care is in keeping with your values, guarantees that your wishes are respected, and allows you to protect your loved ones from feelings of distress, guilt and confusion if tragedy strikes.

To learn more about Five Wishes® or to schedule a presentation about advanced care planning for your group or community, please visit Treasure Coast Hospice at http://www.tchospice.org/hospice/five-wishes.

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