5-Minute Fixes: Share Advance Directives with Your Doctors
Let’s mark this as the year electronic records started allowing us to accomplish some truly useful things. The healthcare system I use hasn’t announced any of the changes they’ve recently introduced — I’ve just stumbled across them on my way to do something else like check a test result, email my doctor, or update my emergency contact.
Last week, I noticed something new under the “Health” menu: a page called “Advance Care Planning”.
That took me to whole little world full of resources to understand, explore, and complete advance care planning documents. And, a place to upload and share them with everyone who has access to my medical records:
My records already included one document but my healthcare power of attorney and living will weren’t there. That's why today's five-minute fix is to share your advance care planning documents with your doctors so they know your treatment preferences in case of emergency.
5-minute Fix: Share your advance care planning documents with your doctors.
If you need a refresher on these terms, check out my Advance Care Planning Cheat Sheet. If you don't already have advance care planning documents like a healthcare power of attorney or living will, check out this Five-Minute fix to learn how and where to get one: Five-Minute Fixes: Download a Free Healthcare Power of Attorney Form.
If you can't scan the documents, take pictures. Alternatively, mail or hand-deliver a copy of these documents to your doctor and ask them to update your medical records. (This actually works! I’ve done it before.)
The bonus benefit of this 5-minute fix for me was making it even easier for my husband to find these things if he ever need to go looking. In digging those two documents out to scan them, I discovered and removed several duplicates that were mixed in with the current documents.
What do you think? Does this look like something you can do in just a few minutes to make a crisis a little less stressful for your friends or family? Do it!
Extra Credit: Share with Your Medical Decision Makers
Three more quick to-dos if you have a couple of extra minutes today:
- Share copies of your healthcare power of attorney and living will documents with your medical decision maker.
- Make sure your medical decision maker knows where to find the originals.
- Make sure your medical decision maker has access 24-hour access to the location where the original documents are stored.
About the Author
Karen Purze is the author of Life In Motion: A Guide for Gathering Life’s Vital Details, a workbook to help people get their affairs in order. She blogs about end-of-life and emergency planning at lifeinmotionguide.com.