The ICU isn’t a good place to make well-thought-out decisions. Critical injuries, complicated treatment plans, and high emotions crash together making it hard to make the tough choices in a sensitive way. We each have the power to direct our own medical treatment. But when we are no longer able to do so, those tough decisions fall on our loved ones.
Advanced Care Planning Puts Family at Ease
Four years ago, on Easter weekend, I said goodbye to my friend, Gloria Hippler. Gay, as she was known, was a zany and fun-loving friend, who only grew closer to me as our children grew older. Years earlier, I had helped Gay prepare Advanced Care Directives (or Health Care Powers of Attorney). In her last days, Gloria’s children and husband relied on these documents to know what she would want. Would she rather go to the hospital or use Caring Circle’s Hospice at Home program? How could they best honor her final days?
Advanced Care Directives provide meaningful guidance for your wishes when it comes to life-saving treatment, end of life care, and other medical decisions. Known formally in Michigan as Health Care Powers of Attorney, this document and its related HIPAA releases, designate who should ensure that your wishes are followed and make decisions not covered in your directives if you cannot. Together, they guide doctors and hospitals to know how to care for you in the face of a critical health crisis.
Health Care Powers of Attorney Open Conversations About Care
Advanced Care Directives and Health Care Powers of Attorney are also excellent tools to open conversations about care with those closest to you. What a glorious gift to give to your loved ones! These conversations move pressure off your family in those moments of crisis and allow you to make your choices known ahead of time, when you are in good health and sound mind.
Gloria’s Gift Program from Berecz & Associates, PLC Gives Advanced Care Planning for Free
When I watched Gay and her family make use of her Health Care Power of Attorney, I understood personally how important they are for families facing turmoil and transition decisions. Every spring for the last four years, Berecz & Associates, PLC, has offered the “Gloria’s Gift Program”. We help Southwest Michigan residents prepare their Health Care Powers of Attorney for free in honor of Gloria Hippler, and her friendship. This is more than just a form you can download online. It comes with experienced advice to your explore options and discuss possible outcomes you may not have considered.
This year, I have partnered with Lakeland Health / Caring Circle’s bold initiative, “Speak for Yourself, Plan Your Care” to get everyone in Berrien County a valid Advanced Directive / Health Care Power of Attorney. I’ve taken Caring Circle’s advanced training and am pleased with the thoughtful conversation the plan encourages to be certain your advanced care planning will be honored by doctors and hospitals. We are participating in National Healthcare Decisions Day throughout the community. The next session will be on April 24, 2018, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m., at the Berrien Springs Library, 215 W. Union St., Berrien Springs, Michigan. Learn more about the Healthcare Decisions Day event on the Lakeland Health website.
Gloria’s Gift to her family took the form of peace of mind. She helped her loved ones know how best to make her comfortable in her last days, so they could focus on creating one last memory instead of stressing over health care details. You can bring that same peace of mind to your family. Contact Berecz & Associates, PLC, this spring and ask for Gloria’s Gift, to get your free advanced care planning advice.
Wishing you wisdom,