As the New Year approaches and you consider creating your list of New Year’s Resolutions, consider adding “create Advance Directive documents” to your list. Some of you might be asking yourself, “What is an Advance Directive?” Advance Directive documents, such as living wills, are a set of instructions given by an individual specifying what end-of-life actions should or should not be taken. Other Advance Directive Documents, such as a Medical Durable Power of Attorney, appoint a person to make end-of-life health care decisions on your behalf.
While end-of-life decisions can be a difficult topic, it is important to discuss your wishes with your family and those close to you. Discussing your desires, wishes and values will help those close to you understand what is most important to you and make appropriate decisions on your behalf. Once you bridge the topic with your family, completing the actual required paperwork is simple and there are many forms available.
CHIMA, the Colorado Health Information Management Association, has posted the “5 Wishes” document as well as the “Colorado Declaration for Medical and Surgical Treatment” document on their at http://www.chima.org/news/news.html. If you would like to print out the “5 Wishes” document, you will need to save it first, as it will not print from the website itself.
Some things to consider as you approach this process with your family and loved ones:
1. Include your family, friends and physicians as you prepare your advance directive documents. Ensure the person you appoint on your behalf understands the responsibility and understands your individual wishes.
2. Once you have completed your forms, be sure to make photocopies and give them to your family, friends, physician, etc – and ensure the documents are available in the event of an emergency.
3. You may also want to retain a copy of your Advance Directive documents in a Personal Health Record (PHR). The American Health Information Management Association hosts a website dedicated to PHR resources – www.myphr.com. If you are interested in maintaining a Personal Health Record
you may want to take a look at this site.
CHIMA will be participating in 9Health Fairs during the 2012 season. Please stop by our booths next year for access to these forms. Health Literacy starts with each of us. Get informed, understand your rights and play an active role in your health!
Jennifer Bowen is a Manager, Healthcare Accounts at Iron Mountain. A graduate of Regis University’s HIM Certificate program and received her Registered Health Information Management (RHIA) credential in 2006. She is an active member of the Colorado Health Information Management Association (CHIMA) and serves as the Public Relations Committee Chair.
As the New Year approaches and you consider creating your list of New Year’s Resolutions, consider adding “create Advance Directive documents” to your list. Some of you might be asking yourself, “What is an Advance Directive?” Advance Directive documents, such as living wills, are a set of instructions given by an individual specifying what end-of-life […]