SOCIAL DISTANCING CREATES OPPORTUNITIES FOR ACP CONVERSATIONS

Greencastle, Indiana. The Putnam County Hospice and Palliative Care Association reminds everyone that for many, social distancing has created some space and time that could wisely be used to have advance healthcare planning conversations and develop advance care directives. Information and forms can be found on the Indiana State Department of Health Advance Directives Resource Center at www.isdh.gov.  

Everyone 18 years of age and older should have an up-to-date healthcare representative, which identifies a person you choose to receive healthcare information and make healthcare decisions for you if you become unable to do so. It is recommended that you consider choosing a secondary healthcare representative in case your primary representative is unable to serve. If you have a healthcare representative directive, review it today and be sure it is up-to-date.  If you don’t have one, choose a healthcare representative and talk with that person about your values and wishes.

If you or a loved one has a serious illness or advanced frailty, reach out to your physician or nurse practitioner to discuss the Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment (POST). The Indiana POST is a physician order for treatment determined by a patient’s goals and the treatment options available to the patient based on the individual’s current health situation.

Everyone should encourage family discussions about healthcare values and wishes, taking COVID-19 into consideration.  Especially for those who are at highest risk for developing severe illness from the virus, the long-term effects of treatments such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation and a ventilator machine are important to learn about and understand.

The fear and uncertainty related to the spread of COVID-19 is real. We can’t eliminate the uncertainty about whether we will get sick, or how sick we might become. But there is a way to limit the uncertainty, through proactively discussing the type of care that is wanted, should we become severely ill. Knowing this information also limits uncertainty for loved ones and for the clinical teams who can confidently create a plan that aligns with what matters most to each individual.

Putnam County Hospice and Palliative Care Association (PCHPCA) is a nonprofit, charitable organization that has joined national, state, and community efforts to increase the quality of the end-of-life experience for patients, loved ones, caregivers, and the healthcare community in Putnam County. PCHPCA is partially supported by The Putnam County Community Foundation and the Putnam County Hospital. For additional information, contact Elaine Peck, Director, at epeck@pchosp.org or visit www.pchpca.org.

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