Intermountain Healthcare is raising awareness for National Healthcare Decisions Day on April 16. This date is a reminder to encourage you and your family to make important decisions regarding medical care and how to communicate those decisions. Advance care planning means planning your wishes ahead of time should you become sick or injured.
How to Plan Ahead
April Krutka, DO, medical director of palliative care at McKay-Dee Hospital, explains that as people live longer and with chronic diseases it’s important to plan ahead and communicate your wishes to loved ones and providers for medical care and treatment.
Advance Care Planning Forms
“You can sit down as a family and have a conversation using Intermountain’s Advance Care Planning workbook,” says Dr. Krutka. “Most people have strong opinions about deal breakers in their lives regarding advanced care planning — things like whether or not they’d want to be put on life support or live in a nursing home. There’s a whole spectrum on how we can live, and how chronic illnesses can be treated.”
Here’s a few tips:
- Think carefully about your core values, beliefs, and goals.
- Talk with loved ones about your wishes regarding medical care.
- Document your decisions using these documents.
How to Complete an Advance Directive
The Advance Care Planning workbook has two forms that you need. An Advance Directive is a legal document that tells others what you want and includes either a living will or a medical power of attorney. The Utah Advance Directive Forms includes part 1 (My Agent) — this tells your healthcare providers who to talk to if you get sick, and part 2 (Living Will) — this identifies specific situation and what you want.
Even if you’re healthy, Dr. Krutka recommends filling out advance care planning forms if you’re over age 18. It’s important to identify a trusted family member or loved one who can speak for you if you cannot speak for yourself.
Meet the McKay-Dee Hospital Palliative Care Team on Monday, April 16, to ask questions about the forms, learn about your rights, and pick up a booklet. They will be available from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the waterfall lobby near the hospital visitor entrance.