Jeff Zucker, CEO and co-founder of MyDirectives joined host Kate Delaney on the America Tonight Podcast to discuss the importance of advance care planning, especially in the midst of our current COVID-19 global health crisis.
Over the weekend, we were encouraged to open our copy of Sunday’s New York Times to read this in an editorial, “Care at the End of Life,” about end-of-life decisions and planning:
Three years ago, at the height of the debate over health care reform, there was an uproar over a voluntary provision that encouraged doctors to discuss with Medicare patients the kinds of treatments they would want as they neared the end of life. That thoughtful provision was left out of the final bill after right-wing commentators and Republican politicians denounced it falsely as a step toward euthanasia and “death panels.”
Fortunately, advance planning for end-of-life decisions has been going on for years and is continuing to spread despite the demagogy on the issue in 2009. There is good evidence that, done properly, it can greatly increase the likelihood that patients will get the care they really want. And, as a secondary benefit, their choices may help reduce the cost of health care as well.
… No matter what the death-panel fearmongers say, end-of-life conversations and medical orders detailing what care to provide increase the confidence of patients that they will get the care they really want. In some cases, that could well mean the request to be spared costly tests, procedures and heroic measures that provide no real medical benefit.
But while we’re happy to see the New York Times tackling advance care planning, we think advance planning isn’t just for the end of life. It’s also for medical crises – for the 20-year-old on her way back to college after a break who is in a car accident or for the 35-year-old who collapses suddenly while out jogging.
Healthcare emergencies can arise at any time in your life, and some, while not life threatening, may prevent you from expressing your wishes. Less than a third of Americans currently have an advance directive. As a result, millions of Americans arrive at these most vulnerable moments of their lives unable to face them in the manner of their choosing.
We’ve heard a lot about both over the past two years, but nowhere in the national debate were our voices – the voices of the patients.
Which is why we’re launching a new campaign today – a campaign to empower you to save your voice, to say “I care. And I decide.”
Join the campaign by signing the pledge:
With only days to go before the election, I pledge:
- To talk to my family, friends, doctors and caregivers about what I want if I have a medical emergency.
- To document my thoughts using MyDirectives.com – to make sure my directives are available 24/7, anywhere.
- To think about this on Election Day: which candidates have recognized that I decide.
By now you’ve probably seen the front page of your newspaper (or heard the radio, TV or chatted with your neighbor) that yesterday the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act – what some fondly and others not-so-fondly call “Obamacare.”
The passion – from those on all sides of the debate – we saw on the steps of the
Court yesterday shows how deeply concerned Americans are about their health. Regardless of where you are on the issue, making sure your voice is heard at ALL stages of your care, especially when you can’t clearly speak for yourself, is important.
This is where advance medical directives come in. An advance medical directive is a document that allows you to give instructions about future medical treatment preferences in case you become unable to make decisions on your own behalf or can’t communicate your wishes. In case your instructions don’t account for every scenario, you are also able to name a person(s) to make decisions for you.
Creating your directive and starting the conversation now, today, is important. Nobody wants the guilt of having to make a decision for a loved one without knowing what he/she wants. And the days of thinking this is just an issue for the elderly and frail are long gone… as new parents have a baby to protect, caregivers need to ensure they’ve kept their promises, our military should be comforted knowing their wishes can be found in an emergency and our veterans should have confidence their wishes can be found at any time.
Where ever you are in life, it’s important to make sure your wishes are heard.
Crossposted from MyDirectives.com