Advance Care Planning
Sometimes health issues take us by surprise, but often health concerns can be anticipated and planned for. One approach to healthcare is to handle each episode of illness as it comes, addressing sudden symptoms and acting to resolve them. Another approach is to anticipate likely problems and to plan in advance what steps can be taken to prevent those problems or manage them in the best possible way. That anticipation and planning is called advance care planning.
When Is Advance Care Planning helpful?
*When you have a strong family history of specific medical conditions and would like to minimize your risk
*Before or during pregnancy, when you want to select obstetrical services, hospital systems, and healthcare options most in line with your values and goals
*When you have a chronic illness that has periodic exacerbations, so you can recognize symptoms early and take steps to minimize illness and hospitalizations
*When you are approaching the end of your life, and want to understand your prognosis, life expectancy, and how to best achieve your personal goals
*When you want to formally document what specific treatments you would want if you were unable to speak for yourself, and designate someone that would be responsible for making those decisions or carrying out your wishes
Advance care planning gets at the heart of questions like, "What would be an ideal birth for your family? What would you do in case of an emergency? What is on your "bucket list" and how might your physician help you achieve it? Advanced care planning is one way that you can be an active participant in your own healthcare and live life to the fullest.