Advance Care Planning Conversations are an essential way to ensure that the medical care you receive is aligned with who you are as a person and what matters most to you.
In a medical office, we may be presented with forms outlining our choices for various options in potential future medical scenarios we may face. In the hospital, we may again be presented with these forms by clinicians we may have never met before.
It’s hard to fathom. How can these forms possibly account for each potential scenario in an unknown future? How is it possible that these forms could help to safeguard what matters most?
Talking about it is so difficult. It is painful. There is so much uncertainty about what lies ahead, and we don’t want to go through the pain of these difficult conversations with the people we love. Especially if we don’t agree or have completely different ways of dealing with it.
Advance care planning includes but is also much more than completed forms.
In many cases, the forms are only as helpful as the conversations that went along with them. These involve emotional processes that benefit from active support, care, and attention early in an illness and over time.
Having the help of a health psychologist with advance care planning conversations can give you the protected space and active support to navigate them with time and care they deserve, in the way that makes sense for you.
What is Advanced Care Planning?
Advance Care Planning is much more than ticking off checkboxes saying “do this,” or “don’t do that.” It is, most importantly, about having conversations with loved ones about the answers to these questions: What does a good life mean to you? What does a good death mean to you?
Though these questions and conversations can be difficult, they are important ways to gain control, autonomy, and voice in your medical care. They empower you to protect yourself, the people you love, and what matters most to you.
Not having them can result in having to navigate the full gravity of these decisions in an unanticipated crisis, without the support and communication they need. When this happens, it can create additional layers of suffering for both patients and loved ones in ways that are potentially preventable.
I can help you navigate the pain and difficulty of considering the answers for yourself, and support you to find your way with the complicated emotions and relationships they involve over time.
In the process, I can also help you learn more about advance care planning forms, assist you to identify the medical questions you may have for your physicians, and support conversations and communication with your medical teams and loved ones.
Together we can get to the heart of not just your fears and but also your hopes, clarify what matters most to you, and help you connect them with your medical decisions. You can protect what matters most to you by making these important decisions with the time, space, and support they deserve.