Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Thanksgiving & Advance Care Planning
Thanksgiving is a classic time to do some advance care planning. When family and friends gather around a table and share a holiday meal, they also get a chance to share how much they care for one another. The holidays are also a great time to talk with your family and those you love about your healthcare decisions before a serious illness. When the discussion is framed in terms of family love, comfort and dignity, a difficult topic is much easier to talk about.
Aging with Dignity suggests two things you can do during this week before Thanksgiving:
1) Bring it up: Think about opportunities you may have next week to talk about health care preferences with your parents, adult children, siblings, in-laws, extended family and close friends. Make sure you have copies of Five Wishes and our Next Steps guide ready. If you want to get started early, think about purchasing and emailing uses of our Five Wishes Online to family and friends. Everyone can fill out their own Five Wishes on their computer, and when you gather together everyone will be ready to talk about it. We know of a family that actually did this during halftime of a Thanksgiving football game!
2) Help others: Consider opportunities you may have to encourage others to plan ahead of a health crisis. You may be able to share this message with colleagues, patients, members of your faith community or civic club. Or, you may be in a position to share this message with the entire community - and offer your organization as a resource where they can get a copy of Five Wishes.
Thaddeus Mason Pope is Director of the Health Law Institute and Professor of Law and at Mitchell Hamline School of Law in Saint Paul, Minnesota. <> <> He is also an Adjunct Professor with the Australian Centre for Health Law Research at Queensland University of Technology; Adjunct Associate Professor with the Alden March Bioethics Institute at Albany Medical College; and Visiting Professor of Medical Jurisprudence at St. Georges University. <> <> Professor Pope is an internationally recognized expert in bioethics and medical ethics. He has over 120 publications in: leading medical journals, law reviews, bar journals, nursing journals, bioethics journals, and book chapters. He also coauthors the definitive 1500-page treatise The Right to Die: The Law of End-of-Life Decisionmaking.