Insightsthe blog of Porter Hills
Importance of Advanced Care Planning
Molly Rayman, MSW
Director of Operations
Click here to watch the WZZM13 Senior Wellness segment on this topic.
What is Advanced Care Planning (ACP)?
Advance care planning (ACP) is an ongoing process in which patients, their families, and their healthcare providers reflect on the patient’s goals, values, and beliefs, discuss how they should inform current and future medical care, and ultimately, use this information to accurately document their future health care choices.
Why is ACP so important?
Advanced Care Planning provides a way for individuals to talk with their family members and health care providers about the decisions that are most important to them regarding their care at the end of their life. And it also provides a way for these decisions to be documented and followed.
These conversations are often not easy, yet they can be some of the most important conversations family members may have with each other.
What are some key aspects to knowing your ACP work has been successful?
Successful ACP programs not only ensure that doctors, patients, and families talk about future care, but also that the content of those conversations is documented in a fashion that travels with the patient as he or she moves across health care settings.
Successful ACP work ensures that the right person has been appointed as a patient’s advocate, and that the advocate clearly knows what the patient wants.
What are some of the common misconceptions about ACP?
I have plenty of time to think about these issues, to talk with my family about my wishes and document them for my health care provider.
A person’s health status can change quickly, and this change can have a significant effect on the treatment plan they may desire to take, or that person’s ability to be involved with treatment decisions. If someone has been appointed to act on your behalf should this occur and your wishes have been documented, this type of challenge or crisis can be navigated successfully.
I should chose the person in my life who wants this role and would be hurt if I didn’t appoint them.
The appointment of a health care advocate is not similar to the process of including someone in your will, though many people think of this in the same way. The responsibility of acting on someone’s behalf, often making very difficult decisions and explaining those decisions to emotional family members is a heavy task. The person you appoint should be someone that you know can handle this pressure and who will accept this role understanding the level of responsibility.
Once I have appointed a health care advocate, that’s all I have to do, and they will now be able to make decisions on my behalf when needed.
Almost all Health Care Powers of Attorney clearly state that they require activation. This means that multiple physicians have to evaluate if the person in question truly cannot participate in their own health care decisions and then document this. This process then activates the DPOA and now the DPOA can act on behalf of the patient.
How can I start the process of Advanced Care Planning with my family or physician?
If you are part of a health care program, such as TANDEM365, a social worker or other health care professional can provide the guidance and documents to assist you with this process.
You can also let your physician’s office know that you desire to pursue this process and they can assist in guiding you to the next steps.
TANDEM365 is a unique collaboration
TANDEM365 represents a new concept aimed at helping older adults navigate the complexities of healthcare while enabling them to remain in their homes. Through customized care coordinated by a team of health care professionals, participants in TANDEM365 have access to the best services and supports available with a single point of contact. TANDEM365 is available to adults 55 and older regardless of nursing home eligibility and income. This solution is unique because it focuses on elements which improve the overall experience while addressing care and services that are not currently reimbursed by insurance.
Visit our website or call (616) 588-5290 to learn more