Take Control of Your Life With Advanced Care Planning
At Agape Hospice NW in Portland, OR, we believe one of the most important aspects of hospice care is making sure patients have control over their healthcare. While we take steps to provide comfort and peace, the peace of mind for a patient and their family, knowing they are in control, adds to the overall confidence in our care. One of the most critical steps in this process is ensuring the appropriate legal documentation outlining the patient’s wishes is processed when they can still communicate and consider end-of-life treatments with a clear mind. Our team of medical social workers is here to guide you through that process and this is an additional resource provided at no cost to you.
What Is an Advanced Directive?
The best way to leave no questions unanswered if a patient becomes too ill to speak for themselves or communicate their wishes is to draw up an advanced directive. This is a legal document for end-of-life health care decisions based on the preferences and desires of the patient that must be adhered to, no matter the circumstances or state of the patient. Without an advanced directive outlining a patient’s wishes, they are at risk of receiving the standard care any other person would receive in the same situation if they can’t advocate for themselves due to their condition. This means physicians and medical personnel will do anything necessary to save their life, including CPR, emergency room admittance, intensive care, or life support.
Types of Advanced Directives
While advanced directives are most common for older adults, it’s never too early to have the discussion, especially if a person is battling an illness. Individuals have two options for an advanced directive to serve various situations.
Power of Attorney for Healthcare
A patient who is in a clear mental state has the ability to appoint an agent to act as their decision-maker for any healthcare and medical treatments if the patient becomes unable to do so for themselves. The patient can revoke and appoint a new agent at any time for personal reasons or if the agent becomes unfit to uphold the responsibility. The agent can be anyone the person chooses and will only have the authority to speak or make decisions on behalf of the patient when the patient is unable to.
Instructions for Healthcare / Living Will
This legal document outlines all of the patient’s wishes, what they want and don’t want, during hospice care. It will cover everything, including end-of-life decisions, when and when not to prolong life, pain relief treatment directives, and organ donation wishes.
Physicians Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment
Physician’s orders for life-sustaining treatment (POLST) is an additional document that can be added to an advanced care directive. First and foremost, all patients should have an advanced care directive, and the POLST does not replace that. The POLST is a recommended additional document that provides further guidance for physicians about the medical treatment the patient approves or does not want to receive. It will direct doctors on whether or not to:
- Attempt CPR
- Do not attempt Resuscitation (DNR)
- Administer antibiotics and IV fluids
- Use a ventilator to help with breathing
- Provide artificial nutrition through a tube
The Advance Directives and POLST can be changed at any time and our Social Services Team and Clinical Team are always here to help.
Make the Important Decisions for Your Care
Advanced directives and POLSTs for patients of Agape Hospice NW in Portland, OR are essential legal documents allowing them to remain in charge of their health decisions. They reduce the burden on the family and minimize additional suffering and medical attention the patient may not want. The patient can amend these documents at any time when they are of clear mind, so it’s never too early to start the discussion about end-of-life and healthcare decisions. This is one more service we offer at no cost to families in our hospice care and encourage all to take advantage of this incredible resource from our professional staff. Contact us to learn more about how our medical social workers can help you through this process.