As you get older and your medical issues become more complex, there are several health care decisions that you will need to make. These decisions include day-to-day priorities for maintaining your quality of life, the ongoing health care goals you want to achieve and how you want end-of-life care to be handled. It’s important to discuss and document these decisions with your caregivers and health care professionals . At Banner Health, our caring staff is here to provide you with helpful information that will enable you to make informed decisions.
We realize these conversations may be very difficult to have with your caregivers, but it’s crucial you talk with them to ensure the appropriate health care is aligned with your priorities. The following steps will help guide you in these conversations:
Step 1: Think about and discuss what matters most to you in your life and health. To help you identify what is most important, we’ve listed the four components of life:
Step 2: Set meaningful health goals and determine if your current health care aligns with those goals. Take some time to think about your answer to the question, “Is there anything you hope to achieve through your health care?”
Meaningful health care goals are:
Step 3: Decide what you are willing to do to meet your goals. For example, are you willing to add more medication to be more active? Can you schedule more doctors appointments to achieve your desired health? Will you modify your eating habits or cut tobacco out? This step is especially important as you will need to talk about how your current health care helps and hinders you.
After you have identified your goals and health care preferences, you should work with your health care team to communicate this information and let them know how they can help you reach your goals. We’re focused on helping you make the decisions that are right for you during your health care journey.
Here are some tips as you work together with your health care team to ensure your health care priorities and concerns are addressed:
As you continue on your health care journey, it’s important to make advance care plans now before encountering a serious illness or disease, providing peace of mind for you and your loved ones alike.
Advance care planning is the process of making decisions about your health care preferences and medical treatments. This information is entered into an advance directive, a living legal document that can help health care providers and family members or caregivers understand your values and wishes in medical situations and end-of-life care when you are no longer able to make your own decisions regarding medical treatment. These types of decisions may include:
You will also designate a health care power of attorney, a mental health care power of attorney and complete a living will. Once your advance directive is complete, you should let both your family/caregiver and health care providers know about your preferences.
If you have recently been diagnosed with a serious illness, especially one that is expected to cause a decline in mental and/or physical state, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s, we recommend that you review and update your financial and advance care planning as soon as possible.
Advance care planning laws vary by state and life’s changes, such as divorce, relocation or death in the family, can further complicate your plans for care. An elder law attorney can help you and your loved ones understand the state laws and financial options, help prepare and maintain important documents and offer guidance to ensure your wishes are carried out. Find advance directive forms by state.
Medicare covers certain advance care planning as part of your annual wellness visit and may also cover this as part of your medical treatment. Learn more from Medicare.gov.
We’re here to help. We have included helpful information and resources about making decisions on behalf of seniors. Learn more about the tools and resources we have available for caregivers.