CONWAY — “My brother and I were put in a situation where we had to quickly make a medical decision. Not knowing if our family member had her advanced directives, we were forced to make a decision during a crisis based on emotion, not knowing if it was her decision at the time," said Sherri Smith-Davies, of an event in her own life that drove home the importance of making advance care plans and letting your family know what those plans are.
"Thankfully everything turned out great, but our decision would have been easier if there had been advance directives in place," Smith-Davies said. "I do not want to put my family in that position, so I am doing mine and having the conversation with my family."
Smith-Davies, an employee of TD Bank, took part in National Healthcare Decision Day on Monday, April 16, with other employees at the bank.
On Friday, April 13, the employees of TD Bank, Conway, put up their Advance Care Planning display in the lobby of the bank, and many went one step further, beginning discussions of planning with the help of Joan Lanoie, Advance Care Planning advocate. Employees began to think about and create their own advance directives.
National Healthcare Decision Day is a nationwide day of health engagement highlighting the importance of ongoing conversations around advance care planning regarding what doctors and other medical professionals, as well as family members should know in the event you are incapacitated and cannot communicate your desires about health care to those people.
Advance care planning is about discussions with your family, loved ones and doctor about health goals, care and treatment options, beliefs and values and how they relate to your wishes. ACP documents include who you want to make decisions on your behalf, if you cannot make those choices on your own. It is about living life fully, as you want to live until life is complete.
The Mount Washington Valley has a group of medical professionals working to get the word out about how and why to take part in advance care planning, and have set up displays and programs around the valley in recent weeks. Under the catch phrase "Have you had the conversation?" the group is encouraging everyone, age 18 and older, to start talking about advance care planning with family members and health care professionals.