Leaders at Beaumont Farmington Hills hospital invite consumers to join a nationwide conversation on April 16 to talk with Beaumont staff about their future health care decisions.
On National Healthcare Decisions Day, consumers will learn about advance directives and the process to complete this legal document, which spells out their decisions about end-of-life care ahead of time with family, friends and health care professionals.
“It’s smart, important, loving and free,” said Christine Westphal, a nurse practitioner who is director of Palliative Care Services at Beaumont Hospital, Dearborn. “The act of making an advance directive, or power of attorney for health care, gives you time to consider who should make medical decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated and what kind of medical care you would want if you were too ill or hurt to express your wishes. As a result, you can feel confident that someone you trust will be making decisions for you and the decisions will reflect what you would want. Fewer families and health care providers will have to struggle with making difficult health care decisions in the absence of guidance from the patient.”
The Pew Research Center found that 42 percent of Americans have had a friend or relative experience a terminal illness or coma in the last five years. For a majority of these people and 23 percent of the public, the issue of withholding life-sustaining treatment arose.
People should give copies of the completed advance directive to their advocates or partners in care, primary care physician and specialists. In addition, they should check with their local preferred Beaumont hospital to have it scanned into their electronic medical chart.
“The U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality showed less than 50 percent of severely or terminally ill patients studied had an advance directive in their medical record,” Westphal said. “At Beaumont, we want to make a difference for our patients and families by significantly raising their awareness about this simple, yet so important, medical planning.”
For more information, write to AdvanceDirectives@beaumont.org.