Advance Care Plans
“Advance Care Planning gives us a way to have a voice, to make a choice
as to what we want from the people who will make decisions for us
if we are no longer able to.” — Lynda Anderson, PhD
Advance Care Planning (ACP) is planning for the care you would receive if you can no longer speak for yourself, compiled into a legally binding document for you to share with your loved ones and health care team. The two main goals of your ACP are designating a surrogate decision-maker and expressing your values, goals, and wishes for your end-of-life care. There are many options available online and free of charge to help document your end-of-life wishes. If you would like guidance as you navigate the various decisions to be made, advance care planning sessions are the perfect option for you.
What is it?
Farewell Fellowship Advance Care Planning sessions offer a sacred conversation between you and the End-of-Life doula to make these difficult decisions as simply and easily as possible. The result of our conversations produce a written summation of all of your wishes for care at the end of your life. This document includes:
(1) Your Advance Directive.
(2) Your Comfort & Care Wishes.
(3) The Body & Services.
(4) Possessions & Dependent Care.
(5) Important Information & Documents.
(6) Life Review.
All together, these pages comprise your Advance Care Plan.
Who needs it?
These decisions seem like something we should all consider when diagnosed with a terminal illness or in our senior years. But advance directives are necessary for each of us, at every level of health and at every age of adulthood.
By having thoughtful discussions about these topics with experienced professionals who have seen various end-of-life scenarios, we can advocate that our entire lives are lived as we choose – even in the end. In fact, research shows that advance directives do make a difference, and people who document their preferences are more likely to get the care they want than those who do not, yet only 37% of Americans have advanced directives (according to the CDC).
How do we do it?
Together, we will unpack and discuss all of the important end-of-life decisions. The compilation of our discussion is considered your Advance Care Plan. While we are meeting (in-person or remote), you have the chance to ask any question you want and have them answered by an experienced end-of-life doula. If I don’t know the answer, it is my job to do the research to find it.
My ACP conversation with you is centered on the following questions:
- What matters to me?
- Why am I making an ACP?
- How do I make decisions?
- How do I want to be treated when I am dying?
- What does comfort care and quality of life look like for me?
- What treatments and care choices do I want and not want?
- What are my final wishes for after my death?
After our meeting, I record the details of our discussion into an Advance Care Plan template. I answer any questions you may have had and add clarification to medical and legal areas by consulting the appropriate experts in our local community, as appropriate. Finally, I will both email and mail a copy of your completed ACP to you, for you to retain and save for your records.
What do I do with my ACP?
This is a wonderful opportunity to email the completed plan to your family or loved ones and primary care provider and to request that they read your final wishes and save them to be honored at the end of your life.
Once you have received these documents, you should have them witnessed and notarized for your advanced care planning to be complete and legally binding. Ideally, this physical copy of your final wishes would be stored with your Last Will and Testament and your other important documents such as deeds, titles, etc. This collection of information provides as much of your personal information to your decision-maker as possible. There is no greater gift to the ones you love.
Sharing your ACP with your decision-making surrogate and loved ones is VITAL. If family discussion about ACP could use mediation to be most successful, that is an additional service Farewell Fellowship offers.