PFS serves as an agent for your Advance Health Care Directive (AHCD). An AHCD lets your physician, family and friends know your health care preferences, including the types of special treatment you want or don’t want at the end of life, such as diagnostic testing, surgical procedures, cardiopulmonary resuscitation and organ donation.
By considering your options early, you can ensure the quality of life that is important to you and avoid having your family “guess” your wishes or make critical medical care decisions for you under stress or while in emotional turmoil.
DISCUSS YOUR END-OF-LIFE DECISIONS WITH KEY PEOPLE
Talk about your decisions with your family, physician and others who are close to you. Some questions to consider for discussion:
- What is important to you when you are dying?
- Are there specific medical treatments you especially want or do not want?
- When you are dying, do you want to be in a nursing home, hospital or at home?
- What are the options in Palliative Care/Pain Management and Hospice Care?
DESIGNATE A PERSON TO CARRY OUT YOUR WISHES
Select who should handle your health care choices and discuss the matter with them. You could name a spouse, relative or other agent.
INFORM KEY PEOPLE OF YOUR PREFERENCES
Notify your doctor, family and close friends about your end-of-life preferences. Keep a copy of your signed and completed advance health care directive safe and accessible. This will help ensure that your wishes will be known at the critical time and carried out. Give a copy of your form to:
- The person you appoint as your agent and any alternate designated agents
- Your physician
- Your health care providers
- The health care institution that is providing your care
- Family members
- Other responsible persons who are likely to be called if there is a medical emergency
ADVANCED HEALTH CARE DIRECTIVE RESOURCES
- Advance Health Care Planning – National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization
- The Agent’s Role In End-of-Life Care – Robert Wood Johnson Report [PDF 31 kb / 2 pg]
- California Coalition for Compassionate Care – A statewide collaborative of more than 50 organizations representing healthcare providers, consumers and state agencies committed to improving end-of-life care for Californians.
- Communicating Your End-of-Life Wishes [PDF 594 kb / 10 pg]
Information above is taken from the California Office of the Attorney General web site: http://ag.ca.gov/consumers/general/adv_hc_dir.htm
SOME ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
“Your Way” booklet is free from H.E.L.P. and is a plain-language guide created to help you stay in charge of the medical care you receive, even if you can’t speak for yourself. Not a legal document.
LUMETRA – hospital, nursing home discharge and denial of services appeals (800) 510-2020
Council on Aging in Orange County – www.coaoc.org (714) 560-0424
HICAP – (Health Insurance Counseling & Advocacy Program) will review Long Term Care Policies at no charge; assist with Medicare, including the part D prescription drug program (800) 434-0222 or (714) 560-0424 (Orange County)