Advance care planning, now more than ever
Many of us are focused on staying well and protecting others as we face the uncertainty and risk of COVID-19. Washing your hands, staying six feet apart and wearing a cloth mask are now everyday realities.
There’s something else that each of us should be doing to prepare for the risk of a serious illness—advance care planning.
COVID-19 presents an opportunity to make sure our health care wishes are known and in writing. If you were to get seriously ill with COVID-19, what advance care plans do you have in place, and who knows about them?
If you have an existing health care directive, do you need to revisit your preferences given the risks and realities of COVID-19? Do you know what others you care about would want and why if faced with a serious illness and unable to communicate?
One way to help ease anxiety and stress during the COVID-19 pandemic is to focus on what we can control. Adults have a basic right to control their own medical care by consenting to or refusing medical treatment. Patients have the right to understand their health problems, potential care options, and what effect accepting or rejecting various treatments might have on their quality of life.