by Douglas Maurer DO, MPH, FAAFP via MedPage Today
Despite universal recommendations from numerous healthcare groups, most people lack an advance care plan. One study found that only approximately 25% of adults in the HealthStyles Survey had completed one. Additionally, the lack of an advance care plan leads to unwanted care — for example, in another study, 25% of patients cited unwanted care as a fear. Many patients and providers simply don’t fully understand what is/isn’t an advance care plan. These are not simply DNR/DNI orders, a living will, or Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) or similar medical orders. These advance care plans include statements of patients’ wishes at the end of life, CPR desires, care at home/hospice, organ donation, etc.
MyDirectives first launched their companion app for iOS in 2015. Both the website and app can be used separately, but ideally they should be together. The website is probably the best place to start, but I did my plan on the app first, and then went to the website to fill it out more completely.
The website discusses the goals of “create, update, and share.” This way a user can immediately complete and sign a valid advance care plan and share it with their family, friends, and healthcare providers. Any updates made in the app or on the website seamlessly sync with one another and with the Apple Health app. The app allows the user to digitally sign the plan, make a video of the person’s wishes; use photos and videos to confirm the person’s identity; share the plan with others via email, text, and QR reader; and show the plan on an iPhone lockscreen, etc.
The multimedia components of the website and app are outstanding. A truly polished product — and completely free!