Take Steps to Make Your Healthcare Wishes Known
By Pikes Peak Hospice & Palliative Care, Colorado Springs LIVING WELL Magazine
The story about the nurse who refused to administer CPR to an 87-year-old resident at an independent living facility in California has received a great deal of national media attention, and has people debating the issue across the country and in our community. Aside from the issue of administering CPR, the story raises important issues our community needs to be talking about.
As the 6th annual National Healthcare Decisions Day approaches (Tuesday, April 16) Pikes Peak Hospice & Palliative Care (PPHPC) stresses the importance of families and loved ones talking frankly about the care they would or would not want if ever faced with a serious medical condition or life-limiting illness. It’s also very important to complete advance medical directives to share with your physician, family, and other potential decision-makers. In Colorado, these official documents are named: Colorado Living Will, Durable Medical Power of Attorney, Colorado CPR Directive, and Colorado Medical Orders for Scope of Treatment (MOST).
J. Donald Schumacher, president and CEO of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, encourages all to think about the following facts. “On a daily basis, hospice and palliative care providers witness families who have benefited from talking about their loved one’s wishes at life’s end. They have also seen how challenging it can be when those conversations never happened. Those who have taken the time to have these important conversations––often long before a serious illness might be an issue––can be assured and comforted in knowing what is important to a loved one.”
Thinking about what would be important to you in a medical crisis and making your wishes known to loved ones is what National Healthcare Decisions Day is all about––regardless of age or health status.
“You should not assume that your doctor or even your close family members know what your healthcare priorities are. Some people facing a life-limiting illness would want to avail themselves of all possible treatments while others would choose to focus on quality of life, seeking hospice and palliative care services,” Schumacher adds.
The American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation’s “Choosing Wisely” initiative has brought attention to the subject of medical tests, procedures, and drugs that are often overused without benefit to patients. The Choosing Wisely initiative serves as an important reminder to the public about the need to be engaged with physicians surrounding one’s own medical care. National Healthcare Decisions Day emphasizes the importance of making advance care decisions before they are needed. Going through the process of advance care planning helps people prepare to be their own best advocate regarding healthcare decisions.
Join the conversation!
On Friday, April 19, the public is invited to join Pikes Peak Hospice & Palliative Care at the Colorado Springs Senior Center, 1514 N. Hancock Ave., from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. A variety of educational tools and information about advance medical directives will be available, and PPHPC experts will be on hand to address questions and concerns. For more information, or to make a reservation, please call 719-387-6000. If you’re not able to attend, caringinfo.org offers a variety of state-specific advance directives for all 50 states and the District of Columbia that meet the legal requirements for each state. You can download individual copies at no cost.
For more information about Pikes Peak Hospice & Palliative Care, please visit pikespeakhospice.org or call 719-633-3400. You can also find us on Facebook.