The most effective strategy for identifying what your advanced illness patients want near the end of life is to have goals-of-care conversations early, regularly and matter-of-factly.
VITAS can help. So can these seven key points about advance directives, the written documents that outline a person's healthcare preferences:
- Everyone over 18 should have advance directives. The most common types of advance directives include a living will, durable/medical power of attorney for healthcare decisions, Five Wishes document, and Physician/Medical Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment document.
- Advance directives give patients control of their medical care if they can’t speak for themselves.
- Advance directives are billable. Medicare reimburses you up to $86 to discuss end-of-life care with patients.
- The conversation is easier when the patient is healthy and alert. Ideally, families should be involved in the conversation to explore values, preferences and goals for care.
- Advance directives can be modified over time.
- Your patients are waiting for you to start the conversation. Ninety-two percent of people surveyed indicated they would be at least somewhat comfortable talking with a doctor or health care provider about their end-of-life medical wishes, including two-thirds (66%) who say they’d be very comfortable.
- People who document their healthcare preferences in an advance directive are more likely to get the care they prefer at the end of life.
Submitted and Written By: VITAS Healthcare - click here for more information