The Importance of Advanced Care Planning

Powers of Attorney Are Very Important

In our business of Long Term Care, Right at Home is often communicating with the Powers of Attorney near the end stages of life, so it is very important that those people are chosen. However, what if your health changed very drastically?

What if you had a Sudden Illness or Injury and could not speak for yourself?

Who would you want to speak for you?

What would you want them to know about your health care wishes?

Advanced Care Planning is a process that helps you:

  • Think about your values and goals
  • Reflect on health care choices you may have to make in the future
  • Select a person who can make choices for you if you can’t make them yourself
  • Make a written plan for the future

In Wisconsin, it is very important to have legally chosen someone to be your Power of Attorney for Healthcare, as that person will speak and make medical choices for you, when you cannot speak for yourself.It is equally important to have your goals, values and preferences written down and communicated with your POA of Healthcare.

If you don’t plan:

  • The care you receive if incapacitated may not reflect your wishes.
  • Your doctors may not know how you would like to be cared for
  • Your family may be left wondering if they are making the right decisions – honoring your decisions
  • If there is no Healthcare POA on file, a guardian is chosen.And this person may or may not make decisions the way that you would have wanted.It is also quite expensive and lengthy to get this changed to a family member or friend, if even possible at all, after the guardianship is in place.

In the state of Wisconsin, many people believe that their spouse is automatically their Healthcare Power of Attorney.This is not the case, as marriage does not have anything to do with being a Healthcare POA.

For adult children, (anyone 18 years and older), the parents are no longer the POA as well.Anyone over the age of 18 should have a POA for Healthcare on file with their doctor.

How do I properly complete one? Do I need an attorney?

You do not need an attorney for a Healthcare POA, however, it is recommended for a Financial POA.

Free services are offered in many places.Right at Home Appleton/Green Bay is a partner in getting information out to the public on this topic by helping to organize presentations to help people, along with the Fox Valley Advance Care Planning Partnership.

The Fox Valley Advance Care Planning Partnership provides conversations to consider, legal advice from partnered attorneys and physicians, as well as directions as to how to fill out the forms, correctly, and legally, and where to have them filed for legality.

Example: Think about what matters to you:

  • What experiences or influences in your life have shaped your feelings about health care interventions
  • What is a GOOD day- to you?
  • Do you have a religious, cultural or personal beliefts that might influence your prefences for life sustaining treatments or interventions?

What to think about in Choosing:

  • Someone who you can TRUST
  • Is willing to take on this role
  • Is willing to follow your wished, even if he/she doesn’t always agree
  • Can make decisions in difficult situations
P. Hietpas
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