The world today is ever changing with new regulations and guidance as it relates to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many are facing fears and questions while others are actively pursuing ways to maintain safety and security in a world that has been struck with illness and uncertainty. When faced with the unknown, our minds can race, and we can feel overwhelmed by the complexity of the situation before us.
One thing, however, is within your control. You can have a conversation today about Advance Care Planning and name a health care agent or power of attorney. The best time to prepare for a possible medical crisis is before it occurs. While advance care planning is important every day, it is of heightened importance as it specifically relates to COVID-19 and the question of what matters most to you, if you become seriously ill.
By addressing advance care planning before the medical crisis, you have time to reflect and time to have the conversations that are so very important for your health and life. It is important to think about your goals for care and personal values should you become seriously ill. It is also important to take the time to think about who you would want to make decisions for you in the event you are unable to speak for yourself and name that person as your healthcare power of attorney.
There is no way to predict if a sudden illness, such as COVID-19, may impact your life. It is crucial that your healthcare power of attorney, family and care team (nurses, physicians, and others), and those closest to you understand what matters most to you—what are your defined treatment preferences and when would a change in treatment be warranted to match your goals and values. COVID-19 has the potential to come with serious complications and it is important to understand your current medical condition to help you weigh the benefits and burdens of treatment options. This can help you define your priorities for medical care.
The conversation can be difficult, but it is also one of the greatest gifts you can give to your loved ones should you be unable to make your own healthcare decisions. For more information, you can schedule telehealth visits with your physician to discuss your medical condition, consult your pastor or chaplain for spiritual support, or contact us at Sunrise Retirement to discuss advance care planning as it relates to your loved one. Resources and support for informed decision making are available as you begin this important discussion about quality of life and health care goals.
LeAnn Fleming, LBSW
Social Service Director
Respecting Choices® Last Steps® Certified Instructor