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AFTER /// CHAPTER 88
Advance Care Planning
Advance Care Planning (ACP) is an ongoing process to learn about the choices we each
have in relation to our future medical care and how each of us would want to be treated
if we were not able to speak for ourselves. Decisions to accept or forego each of these
treatments must be considered in relation to your health and personal values and wishes.
ACP conversations can be very different depending on
an individual's current health. Someone who is generally
healthy should explore what kind of life sustaining treatment
they would want if suddenly they became incapacitated
and their condition was not likely to improve. Someone
with a chronic illness like cancer may want to think about
health care treatments they would choose to receive if their
condition(s) got worse. In addition, individuals facing end of
life must communicate to their loved ones what they want
their final months, weeks, or days to look like. A rich ACP
discussion for a person with cancer will have many " if, then "
statements. For example, you might say something like " If I
am responding to treatment and get an infection, I would like
to go to the intensive care unit and even go on a breathing
machine. But if my cancer is not responding and I won't
come off a breathing machine, I don't want to start using it. "
Making decisions about future medical care requires much
discussion and reflection and can be a very emotional
process. Each individual must make decisions that are right
for them but should do so with input from respected family
members and friends, spiritual leaders, and/or health care
providers. Remember it is an ongoing process. What is right
today may not be right in six months or ten years from now.
Some questions to ask:
» What experiences have you had with a loved one or
close friend who faced decisions about a life-sustaining
treatment and what did you learn from that?
» When would I want life-sustaining treatment and under
what circumstances would I want it stopped?
» What do the terms, a good life, or living well, mean to me
at this point in my life?
You likely have access to people, programs, tools and
resources where you're being treated to help you make
informed, thoughtful decisions about the care you would
like to receive and to document those decisions. Your health
care team will respect and support whatever choice you
make.
As you start the ACP process with your physician or another
member of your medical team, you will likely:
» Learn about medical treatment options and the goals of
those treatments
» Take time to explore thoughts and feelings about lifesaving
or life-sustaining treatments
» Choose someone to represent your choices known as a
medical power of attorney if you are unable to speak for
yourself
» Put your wishes into writing, known as advance
directives
» Voicing My Choices
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What Do I Do Now?

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of What Do I Do Now?

Contents
What Do I Do Now? - 1
What Do I Do Now? - Contents
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