April 16th is National Health Care Decisions Day

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Friends, April 16th is National Health Care Decisions Day.  If I had a nickel for every time I received a call from a distraught person who was unable to access their loved ones medical records, make important decisions of their behalf, or work things out peacefully with family members over how to handle their loved one’s medical care – I’d be a rich woman!

Unfortunately, families are ripped apart over important (and extremely sensitive) health care decisions every single day that range from removing their loved one from life support to placing them in a nursing home.

The best way to avoid a healthcare crises, and all the stress and strain that accompanies one, is to make your family’s wishes known BEFORE a crisis strikes!  I would strongly encourage you to sit down with your loved ones right now to discuss (and document) your personal preferences about things like:

  • Who you do (and do not) trust to make important medical decisions on your behalf
  • Whether or not you approve of CPR, feeding tubes, and artificial life support to remain alive and experience “quality of life”
  • Long-term care preferences if you become permanently disabled or incapacitated
  • Donating your vital organs

It’s also important to list:

  • All medications that you currently take, along with the accurate dosage (how much you take, and how often)
  • Any adverse drug reactions you’ve experienced in the past, and what the reaction was (i.e. hives, vomiting, cardiac arrest, etc.)
  • Your medical history (surgeries and procedures) which may impact how medical experts care for you
  • The name, location, and phone number for your primary doctor and specialists you depend on for good medical care
  • Where your important documents are located, such as insurance policies, a will, trust, etc.

Last, and certainly not least, if you haven’t done so yet, it’s critical that you document your wishes using legal documents like a Power of Attorney and Advance Health Care Directive.  We’ve discussed the importance of these documents in previous blogs.  April’s National Health Care Decisions Day is a perfect reminder to get into action right now, while you still can.  As always, if you have any questions, feel free to call the office at (408)741-3500.  We’re here to help.

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