Who Do I Talk To?
When you are ready to have the conversation about your future medical care wishes, you may be wondering where to start. Baptist Health is here to help you reflect on and express your wishes regarding medical care to loved ones and to your medical team if you are incapacitated for any reason. We will also assist you with completing an advance directive or living will to ensure your wishes are known and honored at the end of life.
It is important to select a healthcare surrogate that will comply with your wishes, even if they do not agree with them. The person you choose to be a surrogate for you can be a spouse, relative or trusted friend. Your surrogate should be willing to accept this role, and able to make complex, difficult decisions based on your values and preferences. You may also want to designate a backup surrogate in case your first choice is unable to serve. Having a conversation with your surrogate is the most important part to ensuring they understand your wishes clearly and know they are appointed as the person to speak on your behalf regarding medical decisions should you need it.
In addition to speaking with your surrogate, you may also find it helpful to have a talk regarding your wishes with your loved ones who are not appointed as decision makers so there is less room for disagreement within the family. Communicating to your loved ones whom you have appointed your surrogate is also important so it is not a surprise when the time comes to follow through on those decisions.
Surrogates often feel unprepared when faced with the challenge of making healthcare decisions for a loved one. The most helpful guidance you can provide your surrogate is through a thorough conversation about your healthcare wishes and selections made on your living will.
Provide copies of your document to your chosen healthcare surrogate(s) and medical providers and keep a copy of the living will where it can be easily found. Your advance directive documents can now easily be uploaded to MyChart so any healthcare provider in the Baptist Health network can access your directive if need be.
Review your healthcare wishes every time you have a physical exam or whenever any of the “Six Ds” occur:
- Decade – when you start each new decade of your life.
- Death – whenever you experience the death of a loved one.
- Divorce – if your spouse is your healthcare surrogate and if you wish to change this following a divorce.
- Diagnosis – when you are diagnosed with a serious health condition.
- Decline – when you experience a significant decline or deterioration of an existing health condition, especially when you are unable to live on your own.
- Distance – when you move to another state, it may be necessary to complete a new document.
If your wishes change, tell your healthcare surrogate, your family, your physician, and everyone who has copies of this Living Will. It would be necessary that you complete a new advance directive to reflect your current wishes at that time.
To understand the differences and see the most common questions regarding advance care planning, visit our Advance Directives FAQ. You can easily upload those documents to MyChart so medical staff can access your advance directive quickly in a medical emergency.
Learn more about Advance Directives, as well as a Living Will Directive for the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Or call the Advance Care Planning hotline.