A Family Caregiver’s Guide to Advance Care Planning

By Pete Lane, 8:00 am on

When someone you love has been diagnosed with an illness that limits their ability to care for themselves, clear communication becomes more important than ever. For many caregivers, discussing advanced care is a difficult subject, but it is one that must happen so you can make informed decisions.

Discussing Your Loved One’s Wishes

The first step in effective advanced care planning is talking with your loved one about their wishes for the future. Begin this discussion as soon as possible. If you encounter problems, it may help to get help from a professional. Important areas to explore include:

  • Has your loved one already made plans for the future?
  • Does your loved one want to remain in their home with help from in-home caregivers?
  • Is your loved one interested in alternative housing solutions, such as assisted living, senior housing, or moving in with a family member?
  • Has your loved one taken any steps in terms of long-term healthcare insurance or a power of attorney?
  • What type of treatment does your loved one want to receive? Do they want care to focus on maintaining their comfort and controlling symptoms, or do they want life-sustaining care?

Questions to Ask the Doctor

It’s also important to have an in-depth discussion with your loved one and his or her physician about the diagnosis. Important questions to ask include:

  • What are the treatment options for my loved one?
  • What is the life expectancy and expected quality of life?
  • What is expected with this diagnosis?
  • Are there any support services available for my loved one and caregivers?
  • Who will manage the care of my family member?
  • Who do I call if my loved one is having trouble?

Documents You Will Need

With an understanding of your loved one’s wishes and advice from his or her doctor, you can begin to prepare for his or her future. An advance health care directive, which is a document that instructs others about medical care when your loved one cannot make decisions on their own, can appoint a health care agent or health care proxy, and prepare instructions as a living will so that your loved one’s wishes are carried out. In addition to a health care directive, the following documents will be important should there be a crisis or medical treatment be necessary.

  • List of medical devices
  • Driver’s license
  • Medical history
  • List of doctors and contact information
  • List of medications and dosages
  • List of insurance plans, including life insurance and medical insurance
  • Veteran’s Administration claim number
  • Medicare/Medicaid number
  • Social Security number

While advanced care is not always an easy subject to talk about, making plans while your loved one is still able to make decisions will lead to a greater quality of life. For more information about long-term care for seniors, reach out to Home Care Assistance of Centennial, CO. We are a premier senior home care provider, offering flexible hourly and live-in care, trained caregivers, and a 100% satisfaction guarantee. Call 303-957-3100 and request your complimentary, no-obligation consultation today.