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Advance Your Planning for Better Care

National Healthcare Decisions Day, observed on April 16th, serves as a reminder that having open, prayerful conversations about our healthcare wishes, especially when we are healthy, is essential for ensuring our end-of-life preferences are respected.

The importance of advance care planning cannot be overstated, according to Calvary Hospital, New York’s leading provider of compassionate palliative and end-of-life care, including hospice.

National Healthcare Decisions Day

“While helping to ensure you get the medical care you desire, putting advance directives in place can help reduce the burden on your loved ones. It provides them with a clear understanding of your wishes, which can reduce the stress and instill in them the confidence that they are following through on what you would want,” said Stephanie Mastropaolo, LMSW, Director of Calvary’s Family Care Center.

Advance care planning involves discussing and documenting healthcare preferences, including the types of care we want and don’t want, in case we are unable to make decisions for ourselves. This process also includes designating a healthcare proxy, someone we trust to make healthcare decisions on our behalf if we cannot.

Research from the National Institute of Aging shows that people are more likely to receive the care they want if they have had these conversations with their loved ones and healthcare providers. Despite the clear benefits, however, many people avoid these conversations, according to Mastropaolo.

“These conversations are hard to have but as our community becomes more educated about the process and information becomes more accessible, more families can start talking about what’s important to them.”

Calvary encourages families to contact their health care providers and to review their advance care planning documents, such as living wills and healthcare proxies, to ensure they reflect their current preferences.

Sources for reliable information include: