Once you have an idea of what you do (or don’t) want with regards to future medical care, you’ll want to make sure the important people in your life are aware of your plans.
You will likely want to appoint a health care agent – someone who can legally act on your health care decisions in the event you are incapable of doing so yourself. This person should be aware of what your medical preferences are, and should affirm his or her willingness to serve in this role and follow your care preferences. You will want to designate this individual using a legal document such as an advance medical directive or health care power of attorney.
- Honoring Choices Virginia Healthcare Agent Information Card
- How to Choose a Health Care Proxy and How to Be a Health Care Proxy
And you’ll want to share your plans with your support network. This may include immediate family, close friends, and health care providers who would support you in the event of a medical crisis. Some conversation starters might include:
- “My health is good right now, but I want to talk to you about what I’d want if I was sick and needed you to make decisions for me.”
- “Do you remember my friend Frank who was in a coma for a while? I wonder if there was any argument about keeping him on that ventilator?”
- “My doctor wants me to think about my future care and to make an advance care plan. Will you help me?”
- “That story about the family fighting about their mom’s care made me realize that we should talk about these things so the same thing doesn’t happen to our family.”
If you’re ready to put your wishes into writing, there are a number of formats you can choose from to help you translate your future care preferences into a legally valid document.
Need help starting the conversation?
Honoring Choices-trained facilitators can help. Connect with us to set up a time to meet one-on-one with an advance care planning specialist, at no charge to you.