Advance Care Planning
Making decisions about medical care is not always easy – especially now that machines can keep loved ones alive even when there is no hope for recovery.
It’s your right to participate and plan for your care. But at some point, you may become unable to make your own healthcare decisions. That’s why it’s important to think and talk about your feelings and beliefs with your loved ones – long before critical medical decisions must be made.
The Foundation for Healthy Communities has developed an Advanced Care Planning Guide that provides you with information about creating an “advance directive” – a legal document that states your preferences about medical care. You can download a copy or visit the Foundation's website for more information. View the Foundation's video below for additional insights into the process of advance care planning.
The Foundation for Healthy Communities is part of the NH Healthcare Decisions Coalition, originally established in 1998 as the NH Partnership for End-of-Life Care.
At their site, you will find information to help you complete an Advance Directive (Living Will and Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare) based on requirements under New Hampshire law.
Also available are downloadable forms, a guide to end-of-life discussions, and explanations about Portable Do Not Resuscitate (P-DNR) medical orders and Provider Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST).
Before you complete any document, be sure to discuss it with your family, doctor, nurse practitioner, patient representative, chaplain or other caregiver. Completing an advance directive will give you a voice in making medical decisions if you become unable to understand or speak for yourself at the time such decisions are made.
No health provider or insurance company can require you to have an advance directive document to provide you with services. However, it’s a good idea to have an advance directive document in place if you want your family and health care providers to understand and follow your wishes about your medical care.
It will also make it better for your family should you become unable to participate in decisions about your care. They will not have to guess about your choices, uncertain of what you would want them to do. And, if family members or your healthcare providers disagree about what is right for you, an advance directive document can help you avoid having decisions made by the probate court.
For additional thoughts and information about advance care planning, check out this video featuring Julie Lanoie, RN, MA, our Director of Hospice Volunteers. Julie is also an educator and founding member of the NH Funeral Resource, Education and Advocacy, a non-profit group that helps families and communities make informed decisions about after-death care.