Advance Care Planning is a two-step process, with each step equally important, that includes:
- Having an in-depth conversation, facilitated by our trained ACP Coordinator and inclusive of your closest family members, around how you define quality of life.
- Completion of two important documents:
- Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care form that names who you choose to speak on your behalf in the event you are unable to do so. This person is called your Healthcare agent.
- Health Care Directive form that outlines your wishes for future medical treatment as it pertains to life-sustaining treatments, in the event you are unable to communicate such.
Anyone could have a serious accident or injury that leaves you unable to communicate. Having documents that identify who would speak on your behalf and what treatments you would or would not want, help to guide family members and medical professionals. Advance Care Planning gives you a voice. It allows the best opportunity for your wishes regarding important healthcare decisions to be known and honored.
Advance Care Planning is appropriate for anyone aged 18 and older. It is best done BEFORE a medical crisis ever begins.
These forms take effect only in situations where you are unable to communicate. Some examples might be an accident that leaves you in a coma or a stroke where you unable to express your wishes. Only then does your Advance Directive come into effect. Your Healthcare Agent will be contacted and asked to make decisions for you using your Advance Directive as a guide.
Pullman Regional Hospital Department of Social Work and Care Coordination has an ACP Coordinator who can meet you at the hospital or potentially come to your home. She is specially trained to facilitate this important conversation for you and your loved ones. She will then help you complete the forms and answer questions as they come up.
Currently, there is no cost or billing that happens for our services. They are entirely free for you and your family.
You may certainly choose to have your attorney assist however it is not required. Our Advance Care Planning Coordinator is fully equipped to assist you in completing your Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare and Advance Directive forms.
Our Advance Care Planning Coordinator can help you get your documents on file with your local hospital and with your primary care physician. You will also want to provide copies to your family. You and your family should agree on a safe location to keep the originals at your home that is easily accessible.
You are encouraged to review your Advance Care Directives every three to five years. Situations change and so may your health. You can prepare new forms anytime you desire. Discard the old forms and replace with the new ones making certain that your care providers and family all have copies.
There are different types of Advance Directive forms that may be used and you should use the one you like best. Pullman Regional Hospital is using a form created and endorsed by the Washington State Hospital Association and the Washington State Medical Association. We can provide you free copies of this form.
No, Advance Directives and POLST forms are different documents. Your Advance directive provides guidance to others and is used in more long term medical planning. The POLST form (Portable Order for Life Sustaining Treatment) is an order signed by your doctor that tells first responders and clinicians what to do in an emergency, if they were to find you unresponsive. The POLST form is bright green and should be kept on your refrigerator. It is appropriate for those who currently have a terminal illness or are of very fragile health.