Advanced Care Planning

We plan weddings. We plan funerals. But we rarely plan for the end-of-life decisions. Many people are simply afraid or hesitant to talk about the end-of-life, so it becomes a subject matter that is often avoided.

Why? Because it can be challenging to initiate this type of conversation with our loved ones. However, it is very important to openly discuss and document your loved ones' wishes while they are still living and can actively participate in the discussion.

April 16 is recognized as National Health Care Decisions Day (NHDD). NHDD was founded in 2008 and since its inception, the goal has been to inspire, educate and empower patients, families, providers, and the public about the importance of advance care planning and expressing wishes regarding healthcare and end-of-life wishes. It is equally important for providers and facilities to respect those wishes, whatever they may be.

What is Advanced Care Planning (ACP)?

ACP is the process of discussing, planning, and documenting your future health care on an advanced directive form.

ACP can also include you appointing someone you know and trust to make health care decisions on your behalf if you are unable to speak for yourself. 

ACP simply allows you to communicate your specific wishes to your family, your friends and health care professionals, which helps to avoid confusion later. 

Common topics include:

  • If you want to be resuscitated if you stop breathing
  • If you want to be on dialysis
  • If you want to be tube fed, or intubated.

The most essential feature of ACP is completing an advanced directive form and providing copies to your health care professionals and close family members.  

Important ACP Resources:

Three Ways You Can Support NHDD

  • Learn about the best practices.

Make use of resources and materials listed below to help you think through your healthcare wishes. You could check out the “Conversation starter Guide”

  • Make adequate plans for your own healthcare decisions.

Complete your own advanced directive. Remember, healthcare decisions should not just be about end-of-life issues. It should include mental health issues, blood transfusions, amputations, and when the affected person is incapable of making sound decisions.

  •  Encourage others to do likewise!

Start with educating and encouraging other people in your immediate family, close friends, people you care about, or even your faith-based community, on the importance of making health decisions in time. You could be saving a life by doing so.

There are many resources that provide printable guides, videos, specific strategies, and forms in several languages to help you plan for and document your own end-of life-decisions. By completing this yourself, you can be better prepared to help and support your loved ones with doing the same.

As Gandhi would say “Be the Change you want to see in the world”.

FEAP Offers Eldercare Concern Counseling

The Faculty and Employee Assistance Program (FEAP) also offers support to employees around Eldercare Services. FEAP can connect you with trained professionals who have the knowledge and experience to meet a variety of eldercare concerns through consultation and customized guidance.

FEAP also offers a virtual Eldercare Support group (ECSG) to UVA employees. The group meets on the third Thursday of every month from 12:00 - 1:00 pm. The goal of the ECSG is to offer a safe and confidential space for caregivers to bare witness to each other’s journey and to share resources, tips, and strategies related to self-care and caregiving. For more information or to schedule a brief consult with our Eldercare Enthusiast, Dominique McLaughlin, please call 434 243 2643.