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Put it in writing…do you have your advanced directives in place?

Hospital news | Tuesday, March 13, 2012

“Unfortunately, we know these ‘famous’ women all too well: Terry Schivo, Karen Quilan, and Nancy Cruzan. The end-of-life stories of these women are heart wrenching examples of what can happen when there is no advanced directive in place,” explains Diane Koth, CSW, Patient/Family Services Director at Prairie du Chien Memorial Hospital. “Their families sadly endured the heartache of no preplanning. Letting loved ones know your preferences is an invaluable gift to them.”

It may be difficult to imagine being too ill to make your own healthcare decisions. Unfortunately, that time may come. Something happens–a critical injury, a debilitating illness, lack of response to a lifesaving treatment–and acting on your own behalf is no longer possible. Who will make healthcare decisions for you? What decisions would you want made?

“I encourage individuals to have thoughtful conversations about their healthcare decisions and to complete a reliable advanced directive to make their wishes known,” adds Diane Koth. “Fewer families and healthcare providers will have to struggle with making difficult healthcare decisions in the absence of guidance from the patient. Healthcare providers and facilities will be better equipped to address advanced healthcare planning issues before a crisis and be better able to honor patient wishes when the time comes to do so.”

Everyone needs to discuss their healthcare wishes with their family and with their healthcare provider. Social workers at Prairie du Chien Memorial Hospital are available Monday through Friday to discuss and assist in completing an advanced directive (Power of Attorney for Healthcare). You can set up an appointment by calling 608-357-2045.