National Health Care Decision Week 2017 is April 16th to April 22nd.
Most adults prefer to make important decisions about their life themselves. Not that you don’t seek input from trusted friends and family members, a pastor or other personal counselor, but ultimately the decision is yours. This is known as autonomy. When it comes to healthcare, autonomy is usually expressed as “the right of competent adults to make informed decisions about their own medical care.”
We typically don’t ponder the intricacies of medical care when we are doing well. However, when crisis occurs, you may be compromised intellectually, emotionally and spiritually. Is this the best time to make decisions that can affect the rest of your life? Does anyone know what your preferences in a difficult medical situation would be? Would your spouse or adult child be comfortable or have the emotional ability to make a decision about your medical care if you were debilitated for some reason?
Imagine a situation in which your spouse or adult child is called upon to decide whether or not to begin dialysis or place you on a ventilator for breathing. Your loved one will be distraught emotionally. He or she may have a very different idea about what to do than you would if you could speak for yourself. The burden of this decision may be overwhelming. There also is a chance that something you would not agree to may be implemented or something you really would want to see happen may be declined, which is why it is so important to have these conversations before tragedy strikes.
While this may seem like a difficult topic to throw out at the dinner table, consider a life in a compromised state in which you no longer have control over what is happening to you. Give your loved ones a valuable gift. Relieve them of the burden of making these difficult decisions. Make them yourself.
National Health Care Decision Week 2017 is April 16th to April 22nd. Utilize this week as an opportunity to have a conversation with a trusted person about your preferences for healthcare. Complete a Healthcare Power of Attorney (HCPOA) document and designate that person to be your healthcare agent, to be your voice if you cannot speak for yourself. This form is simple to fill out yet will play a crucial role should the time come that you need it. You do not need an attorney and the document does not need to be notarized. This form simply ensures that your preferences will drive the decisions that need to be made about your medical care.
In other words, no matter what happens, and God willing nothing will, you’re the boss.