Information and resources that support your role in caring for a loved one.

In honor of National Healthcare Decision Day on April 16, Ellen M. DiPaola, President & CEO of Honoring Choices Massachusetts, joined us at the BayPath offices to provide training on End of Life Planning.

Although the training addressed how BayPath employees are best positioned to share this knowledge with consumers and caregivers, it made us recognize the importance of this planning in our own lives.

Do you understand the requirements and processes for developing a personal health care plan? Selecting a Health Care Proxy? Generating a Personal Directive? If you are like many of us, you have heard of these items and have a basic understanding of what they are, but have not put these plans into place for yourself or a loved one.

Health Care Proxy: An advance medical directive in the form of a legal document that designates another person (a proxy) to make health care decisions in case a person is rendered incapable of making his or her wishes known. The health care proxy has, in essence, the same rights to request or refuse treatment that the person would have if he or she were capable of making and communicating decisions. [Source: www.medicinenet.com]

These are hard topics. It’s not something we readily want to think about. The term “end of life planning” is something we like to think we have plenty of time before we have to address it. Hopefully, we do! But having a plan in place is more like insurance that if you or a loved one cannot make medical decisions yourself, these decisions will be made by someone you chose and implemented based on your pre-established wishes.

Before you bring up the topic with your aging loved ones, do research! 

By getting comfortable with these topics and what is required, you are more likely to be able to discuss it with greater ease. More importantly, this will put your loved one at ease. You will be positioned to guide the conversation, answering initial questions and knowing which questions require further research to answer.

www.honoringchoicesmass.com is a user-friendly website that provides comprehensive explanations of end of life planning and has a wide selection of straight forward tool kits and resource guides that guide you through the process of planning.

When should you need to make personal directive for yourself?

An end of life plan is important for all adults to have, regardless of age. In its simplest definition, an end of life plan is a strategy put in writing. It legally identifies who you would want to make healthcare decisions for you and what kind of medical treatments you would want, should you become in a position of not being able to speak for yourself.

NIH – National Institute on Aging has a myriad of articles that discuss this topic. One in particular explains Healthcare Directives, noting that “Advance care planning is not just about old age.”

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