Advance Care Planning is a process of thinking about and sharing your wishes for future health and personal care. It can help you tell others what would be important if you were ill and unable to communicate. The information in an advance care plan is shared with your loved ones and your health care team so treatment and care plans can support what matters to you.
An advance care plan includes what is important to you and gives your life meaning. This might include people and pets, your values and the ways you would like those caring for you to look after your spiritual and emotional needs.
Having a plan is particularly important if you become too unwell to tell your loved ones and health care team what you want (and don't want) yourself. It’s an important gift for your loved ones as it can relieve the burden of them having to make decisions on your behalf.
Just as you name an executor to distribute your property after you pass away, it’s important to name someone to carry out your medical-care wishes in the event you become unwell. Of course, no one plans to become incapacitated, but it can happen to anyone of us at any time. If you suffered a head injury from which you were unlikely to regain consciousness, who would tell the doctors how aggressively to treat you and what life-sustaining measures to take?
Or, say you are newly diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, heart failure, or a terminal illlness like cancer. People now live with such diseases for years, sometimes decades, thanks to modern medicine. But many serious diseases eventually lead to progressive fatigue, sleepiness, and loss of function and independence, including loss of ability to make decisions and, often, to communicate effectively.
Read More: EPA - Personal Care and Welfare
Advance Care Planning can be broken into five simple steps, and can be tackled one at a time. Think about and talk are the important first steps - it’s the conversations and the shared understanding of what is important to you that makes the biggest difference. Once you have done that, write down the key points and any specific wishes in a plan so that others can refer to it.
What are your values, wishes, beliefs and understanding about your care and specific medical procedures? Who will be your substitute decision maker - someone who is willing and able to speak for you if you can't speak for yourself.
About your wishes with your substitute decision maker, loved ones and your Doctor. Learn about different medical procedures and what they can and can't do. If you'd rather keep your wishes to yourself, LifeLot enables you to record your thoughts without having to have these difficult conversations.
Write down or make a recording of your wishes. LifeLot templates include an Advance Care Plan which we guide you through step-by-step. If you need a hand contact us. We are happy to help in any way shape or form.
If you do complete an Advance Care Plan, it needs to be shared with your healthcare team and anyone else you want to have access to it like your EPoA - Personal Care and Welfare, or your LifeLot medical delegate. It is important your family and loved ones know you have a plan and where it is kept.
It is also important you review your plan on a regular basis; maybe every year around your birthday or some other significant date. The beauty of having your Advance Care Plan in your LifeLot account is that you can add to it as often as you like, and change your decisions at any time using our simple ACP template.
And as much as we prefer not to dwell on the fact that we won't be here forever, advance care planning can make a potentially difficult, challenging, and painful process easier for the people we love.
Life is full of twists and turns. Planning and gathering together all these jigsaw pieces now will relieve a lot of stress later. Whether you’re recovering from surgery, involved in an accident, or embarking on the one adventure every human must eventually take into the great beyond. This info will come in handy for you in every day life, your family and loved ones. By organising and sharing the location of all these things you’re helping yourself to become more efficient, engaged in your life and your family can easily take over if needed.
LifeLot acts as your very own personal database from which the information you gather and store can be retrieved quickly and presented to you in different ways. The information that is entered in your LifeLot account will feed into many important document templates that you can create, like an updated CV, a Will or Enduring Powers of Attorney.
Often the only time you seem to think about your important documents is when you need them. And, often you can't find them because you either don't have an organised and centralised system for storing your important documents and/or the last time you needed them, you simply tossed it back into the sea of papers in your home office instead of putting it back where it belonged!
There is probably some other stuff that only sits in your head and your family would love to know. LifeLot ensures important information is passed through generations. In a medical emergency, a delegate will be able to securely access an Advance Care Plan or Will, and call upon other important documents when they're most needed.
It's simple to set up, free to try, and it can make a world of difference for your family if something happens to you.