The Most Important Conversation You'll Ever Have
SACRAMENTO, Calif., April 16, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Do you know your parents' wishes if they become seriously ill? Have you talked with your adult children about your wishes in the event you become gravely ill? End-of-life conversations are among the most difficult yet important you can have with your loved ones. Experts across the Sutter Health network, including Brad Stuart, M.D., Chief Medical Officer for Sutter Care at Home, encourage you to "have the talk" today – National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD).
Video: Why National Healthcare Decisions Day is Important - www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_1OzaX_w40
Roger and Lori's StoryTen years after suffering a massive heart attack, 59-year-old Roger Floyd of Roseville finds comfort in the little things – the occasional view out his living room window or the array of colors in his tulip-filled garden on a spring day. Roger receives hospice services through Sutter Health's home health care affiliate Sutter Care at Home (SCAH). Roger and his wife Lori say they're able to better enjoy his final days because they had open and thoughtful discussions about his wishes at the end of life. Learning the importance of advance health care decision-making following her father's death last year helped prompt Lori to discuss end-of life-desires with Roger and complete an advance directive, a way to document personal health care wishes when an individual is unable to speak for themselves or prefers that someone else speak for them. "Roger and I didn't want to talk about it – we were putting it off," she said, noting that Aja Oakman-Mahaffey, a medical social worker through Sutter Care at Home, spent many hours discussing this important topic with them and made it easier for them to take action. "My father had filled one out, but he and I had never talked about what he wanted," she said. "Because he had written down what he wanted, we had some sort of guideline about his wishes. It's so hard if you don't have that conversation or don't have something in writing about what someone wants, especially when you're going through so many emotions and facing hard decisions." Barriers to Difficult Conversations Dr. Brad Stuart, a national leader in end-of-life care, says people resist completing an advance health care directive for many reasons. Video: Overcoming Barriers to Difficult Conversations - www.youtube.com/watch?v=y7hXfxL0ahQ Rosemary Gerber , a program manager for the Advanced Illness Management (AIM) program implemented by Sutter Care at Home, says having a strategy may make the conversation easier. Video: The "What If" Strategy - www.youtube.com/watch?v=2eEME0_1NCo How to Prepare an Advance Directive An advance directive (AD) is a document outlining your personal health care wishes should you become unable to speak for yourself. In an AD, you can also designate who you want to make decisions about your medical care should you be unable to do so.
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