Why should young people care about advance directives?
Every adult should have an advance directive - add a badge to your blog today!
What does "palliative care" feel like?
Click to answer our quick question!

Heading to College? Take These Five Pieces of Advice

Screen Shot 2015-10-15 at 5.42.24 PM

We often tell students heading off to college to be sure they get enough rest, avoid drinking too much coffee during exams, exercise, and be careful with the alcohol, but do we teach them how to prepare for the unexpected?

When you send your child off to school this fall, share these 5 back-to-school tips because they already know to go to class and to do their reading.

  1. Make friends, but be careful with your valuables: laptops, jewelry, books, car keys, cash. You might decorate your dorm room to feel like home, but almost everyone around you is a stranger before you get to know them.
  1. College can get busy and sometimes stressful. Don’t be afraid of visiting the counseling center. It doesn’t mean that you’re weak; it means you respect yourself and your family’s investment enough to deal with issues quickly.
  1. Become well acquainted with your professors and career center staff – doing so can make a big university seem more personal and a small college be even more intimate.
  1. Nobody is really impressed by the amount of all-nighters you can pull. Seriously – this is NOT a badge of honor! Start homework assignments early and get enough sleep. You’ll learn faster, retain more, and have more confidence and much more time for fun!
  1. Create an emergency medical plan. Watch this short clip to learn why and how. Who would you want to speak for you if you had an accident? How would a doctor know what you wanted? Accidents can happen to all of us.  Especially when you’re away from home, chances are your doctor will be a stranger, and someone you don’t know well might be forced to make decisions for you.MyDirectives.com is free and makes it easy for you to have a voice in your own care! Don’t wait to create a plan until you need it – because then it could be too late.


Happy 50th Anniversary Medicare & Medicaid

Screen Shot 2015-10-15 at 5.44.36 PM

Fifty years ago this week, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed legislation that established Medicare and Medicaid to protect the health and well-being of millions of Americans and improve the economic security of our nation.

Recently, Medicare proposed a new rule that would reimburse doctors for discussing advance care options with people. While such a policy is an important step in the right direction, much more must be done if it is to be applied efficiently and effectively.

Even if they are paid for their time, doctors rarely have enough time in an office visit to introduce a new concept to patients who may be there just to address a medical issue or have a check-up – not contemplate long-term values in how they would like to be treated in the event of a healthcare emergency. Advance care planning must be a critical part of everyone’s lives, from an early age. We must educate and empower people to start thinking about advance care planning long before they become a critical care patient.

Create a draft plan at home, with the input of family and loved ones, when there is time and space to think these priorities through. The purpose of discussing the plan with a doctor, then, becomes reviewing any questions or talking about one’s healthcare values. This is far superior to starting the conversation from scratch.

And for their part, doctors need training. Conversations in advance care planning require resources and patience. As part of its new rule, Medicare should direct healthcare providers to tools they can share with people on starting the conversation at home.

Once they create an advance care plan, people deserve confidence said plans can be found 24/7, anywhere in the world – in the event they want to update it as circumstances change, or because something happens where implementation of that plan is needed. This is also the best way to prevent Medicare fraud for reimbursing discussions that didn’t happen.

We wish ongoing success for the next 50 years for Medicare and Medicaid and hope they will continue to prioritize educating and empowering people to take an active role in their healthcare journey, especially when it comes to advance care planning.