Making decisions about your health care needs as well as the choices that you would expect to make if you were not able to are very important reasons for advance care planning. An advance care plan coincides with the medical treatment received. Whether you contract an illness or you are involved in an accident that prevents you from making decisions to treat or not based off the prognosis leaves the decision solely to you and not family that might not share your same views.
There are many situations that someone could find themselves in and would need and advance care plan, a directive that tells either the care providers or family members what your wishes are when faced with difficult decisions regarding your medical care. It is possible that you could find yourself in a coma brought on by a disease or an accident. Either way, the decision to continue treatment or not will be left up to your family if there is no advanced directive.
If the situation is caused by an accident and you are still young and fairly healthy, you may want everything that could be done to revive you so that you may continue a normal life. However, if you are an elderly person and have been faced with an illness that requires continued treatment even if brought out of the coma, you may or may not want to continue treatment. These decisions, if not put in an advanced care plan, will not allow you to have a voice in your own treatment.
Hospice care is another situation that you could be faced with when there is no further treatment that can cure your illness. Hospice is designed to ease the pain and suffering as you are reaching end of life. If an illness or accident has left you incapacitated and unable to speak or communicate, an advanced directive could convey your decisions for what type of treatment you desire. It may be your decision to live out your time with family and friends and not spend it at a hospice care facility with strangers
There are many other scenarios that could leave you in a situation where you would not be able to speak for yourself. If you had a stroke or a heart attack, you may not be in a position to make informed decisions regarding your care. If you were struck with alzhiemers and you could not remember your family, It would be as if a stranger was making decisions for you if an advanced care plan was not put in place. These are just some of the possible scenarios that you could be faced with. Summary Advance care planning is a very important step in the aging process.
Making these decisions are based on your beliefs and not the beliefs of family, friends, or a care giver. Becoming knowledgeable of the importance of creating a plan will ease the pain of being in a situation of making a difficult decision that may not convey the sentiments of your family member. The impact of not having an advance directive or advance care plan in the case where your family member is in extreme pain and not able to speak for themselves can be very frustrating for the family members that have to make the decision for or against further medical procedures.