April 3, 2014
DATE: March 31, 2014
CONTACT: Roxanne Debski-Seigel
Karen Ann Quinlan Memorial Foundation
Offices in Newton NJ & Milford PA.
PHOTO: Karen Ann Quinlan Hospice Social Services staff member Jacqui Gieske, MSW, LSW displays the Living Will packets that the hospice will hand out on Health Care Decisions Day on Wednesday April 16th.
NEWTON — March 31, 2014 — Sometimes when a health care provider asks if there is a Living Will or Advance Directive (both are the same) patients become concerned that maybe there is something they are not being told about their condition. Is it that serious they wonder? This is one of the many misapprehensions about a Living Will or an Advance Directive. This is farthest from the truth. It is a lawful requirement for your health care provider to ask if you have a Living Will/Advance Directive.
An Advance Directive/Living Will is something every adult, regardless of health status, should prepare and share with family members, loved ones and medical providers. It is a legal document that allows you to express and guide your medical treatments and choices and to choose your Patient Advocate; one who will consult with your medical provider when necessary. But also understand your personal health care goals change over time and keeping this document and discussions current with your advocate helps to ensure you receive the right care in the right place at the right time.
Your Patient Advocate needs to be someone you trust to speak for you such as a spouse, family member or friend. This person will be making medical decisions for you if you become permanently or temporarily unable to make your own decisions. You can always change your Advance Directive and name a new Patient Advocate by completing another document. Although with an Advance Directive/Living Will if there is no advocate, your wishes will at least be on record. It’s significant to understand that an Advance Directive/Living Will can only be used in situations when you are not able to make your own decisions. No one can make decisions for you if you are still able to speak for yourself.
A study by The Conversation Project discovered that more than 90 percent of Americans know they should have a dialogue about their health care wishes; yet only 30 percent do. And while more than half say it is very important to make sure our family is not stressed by having to make difficult decisions, 56 percent have not communicated their wishes to their loved ones; thus leaving them unprepared and on their own in a time of crisis or severe illness.
To help understand the value of advance care planning the National Healthcare Decision’s Day was started and exists to “ inspire, educate & empower the public & providers about the importance of advance care planning.” NHDD To localize this national cause, Karen Ann Quinlan Hospice provides free kits that explain how to proceed for NJ & PA residents.
To be part of the awareness of NHDD, held every April 16th, the hospice staff prepares an Advance Directive/Living Will portfolio filled with forms, websites, glossary of terms and general information about Advance Directives/Living Wills. These are available for pick up on April 16 between the hours of 8:30-4:30 at either of the hospice offices; for NJ, 99 Sparta Ave, Newton, NJ 0780 (973) 383-0115 and for PA, 104 Bennett Avenue Suite 2A-2 Milford, PA 18337 (570) 296-3591.
Below are four simple steps to start the process.
Every five years is a good timeframe to look at, update, and make any desired changes to your Advance Directive. Health crises can happen to anyone at any time. Keep in mind that there were no opportunities for these decision-making processes before the Karen Ann Quinlan landmark legal case, whose situation launched the recognition for the need of Living Wills. Also with respect to age, Karen Ann, Nancy Cruzan, and Terri Schiavo were all in their 20s when their health crises occurred.
For more information on NHDD visit www.nhdd.org.
The Karen Ann Quinlan Memorial Foundation is passionately dedicated to providing Hospice care for the terminally ill and Bereavement for those who have lost loved ones. Serving Northwest NJ and Northeast PA; please call 800 882 1117 to reach any of our services. Karen Ann Quinlan Hospice, 99 Sparta Ave., Newton, NJ and Karen Ann Quinlan Hospice, 104 Bennett Ave., Milford, PA. Karen Ann Quinlan Hospice is an independently owned hospice program and the preferred hospice provider for the Atlantic Health Care System in our area of service. For programs, events, and more information visit www.karenannquinlanhospice.org