With support from the LOR Foundation, Liz Lightner of Better Your Goodbyes and Dementia Friendly Lander has partnered with the Lander Free Medical Clinic, Anam Cara Caregiving, and MyDirectives.com to encourage Lander community members to complete their Advance Care Plan and have the important conversations with their loved ones and medical team regarding their decisions.
“The Greatest Gift Campaign” will launch April 16th, National Healthcare Decisions Day. Ideally, anyone over the age 18 should designate a Durable Medical Power of Attorney, also known as a health care agent or proxy, who would speak for them, if/when they couldn’t speak or express their wishes, especially if a life or death decision needs to be made. This designation typically isn’t a one and done, and an alternate health care agent should also be designated in the event the primary agent is unavailable.
More often than not, when a person goes to the local hospital for a procedure and is asked if they have an advance directive, they answer yes or no and a box is checked. Usually, the answer is “No,” followed by, “But I probably should,”.. but if it is “Yes,” it is probably followed up with, “Somewhere.” And the advance directive conversation stops there, sadly.
Additionally, if people have completed an advance directive and have designated a health care proxy, oftentimes they haven’t had the important conversations that go along with the choices they’ve made.
The majority of people put off creating an advance directive until later in life, or if they receive a terminal diagnosis, or after the unexpected loss of a loved one. Advance directives aren’t just for older adults, or those with children. Unexpected situations can happen – terminal illness, serious injuries, coma, late stages of dementia, near the end of life
If you don’t have an advance directive and become unable to make medical decisions for yourself, you could be given medical care that you would not have wanted. If there is no directive in place, the doctor may ask the family about the patient’s wishes, but ultimately the decision can be made by the doctor if no health care proxy agent was designated. This can potentially lead to family conflict, as well as conflict with the medical providers. Wrongful life lawsuits have happened.
Advance directives should be reviewed and updated, as situations change: divorce of HCP, health decline, terminal or early dementia diagnosis, death of HCP, decade (every 10 years).
Traditional advance directives have been created in paper form, which is not easily accessible, editable, or shareable. Online directives change that, especially when linked to a QR code that can be kept in your wallet, on the back of your phone, and/or watch face.
THE GREATEST GIFT CAMPAIGN ENCOURAGES LANDER RESIDENTS TO:
- Decide for oneself what matters most
- Designate a Healthcare Proxy
- Document wishes online
- Discuss wishes with HCP, health care team, and loved ones
- Distribute to local medical providers, family, etc.
- Digitize with a QR code for easy access, anywhere anytime
“Do the D’s and enter to win a $25 Mr. D’s gift card!”
(1 in 25 people will win on April 16th, 2023 & 2024, and once per month April 2023-24.)
Lander residents: Click HERE to learn more, designate your health care proxy, and enter to win!
(NOTE: Anyone can complete their advance directive free online, but for this campaign, only Lander residents are eligible to win a gift card.)
As a volunteer, Lightner will be helping to facilitate Advance Care Planning for the patients of the Lander Free Medical Clinic, as well as Anam Cara Caregiving’s clients and their families. She will also be available to help facilitate ACP for other Lander community members wanting assistance.
Perhaps Lander, Wyoming can beat LaCrosse, Wisconsin…
- How To Die in America – Forbes Article
- A Town Where Everyone Talks About Death – NPR Article