It’s easy in Montgomery County!
Did you know that anyone over the age of 18 should have an Advance Care Plan? That an Advance Care Plan should be revisited at least yearly? And that Montgomery County has a great resource to help you set up an Advance Care Plan?
Advance care planning involves learning about the decisions that might need to be made determining care and medical treatments you would want to receive if you become unable to speak for yourself, considering and making those decisions ahead of time, and putting them into writing. Then, it is important to let others know about your preferences; your family, loved ones, and healthcare providers should be aware of your decisions.
An advance directive is a legal document that goes into effect only if you are incapacitated and unable to speak for yourself, which could be the result of a long-term disease or a sudden accident, and many things in between. It is a living document, and you can update it as you experience life and health changes. Marriage, divorce, children, new information or health diagnoses can all trigger an update to how you want to experience end of life.
Voice Your Choice (https://www.voiceyourchoice.org/) is a community-based program led by Jewish Social Services Association (JSSA) that promotes advance care planning through training, education, and public awareness. It is a program of Nexus Montgomery, a partnership among the six hospitals in Montgomery County connecting patients with resources to help them remain healthy and independent.
Starting is simple. Open your internet browser. Go to www.voiceyourchoice.org. Click the green “Complete your advance care plan” button at the top of the homepage. Create a login and start!
The plan asks you to identify a Health Care Agent (someone who will speak for you if you are unable to speak for yourself), wishes for resuscitation and artificial nutrition, as well as any additional preferences you have. For example, you might want to make sure that your cat can still cuddle with you or you might decide you don’t want to be kept alive with a feeding tube. There are many decisions and preferences you can detail, or you can start with just a few.
Lawyers usually create advance directives for their clients when preparing wills and other estate planning documents. Voice Your Choice’s online system shares your advance directive among our county’s hospitals, so in an emergency, healthcare providers would be able to access your preferences. Here’s the special thing about Voice Your Choice: If you decide to have a lawyer prepare your advance directive, you can still upload it to Voice Your Choice so that hospitals in Montgomery County can access it.
Remember to take time to consider these important decisions, update them when needed (at least yearly), and talk to your loved ones about your advance care plan.
If you or an aging loved one are considering non-medical in-home care in Chevy Chase, MD, call Griswold Home Care
and speak to one of our caring staff members today. Call (301) 234-6440