Ask A Geriatrician- by Dr. Susan Nelson

Ask A Geriatrician- By Dr. Susan Nelson

Are advanced directives made to encourage people not to seek aggressive care?

Not at all! The purpose of advance care planning is to have your voice heard and your wishes respected as you go through the health care system. We want you to receive the best care possible based on what you want and what the medical possibilities might be. We all know of someone who had a sudden illness or a chronic illness which grew worse rapidly that did not make any plans–leaving their family and friends to make tough decisions without any direction. Those watching the scenario unfold are often heard saying “I hope that never happens to me” or “I hope MY children act differently towards each other” but then never put those thoughts in writing or tell others what they would want in such a situation. Advance care planning is not just the completion of a form (living will or health care power of attorney). It should be conversations with those we love and trust about the many things that are important to us as we age. These discussions may be the BEST GIFT you can leave your family.