At Seward Area Hospice we believe it is important for you to have a clear voice about your end of life wishes. Advance directives are one way to ensure that. We are here to help you learn more about advance directives and to help you create your own. If you have questions or would like to meet with someone to discuss the process please get in touch with us to make an appointment.
What is advance care planning?
Advance care planning is the process of ensuring your end of life care wishes are honored if you’re unable to communicate them yourself. Thinking about this type of care isn’t easy, but it’s the first step in securing the peace of mind that comes with knowing your wishes will be carried out by the people you choose.
Here are three main steps to help you navigate the process:
Think carefully about the type of end-of-life care you want and who you would like to carry out your wishes.
Discuss your preferences with those who are important to you and will honor your choices, including your health care provider.
Document your wishes and provide copies to anyone who needs them.
We believe that each step is important, but even if you don't get to Step 3 to complete the documents, we encourage you to at least discuss your end of life care preferences with your loved ones and health care professionals. Though it may be difficult, we have yet to hear from anyone who regrets having had these discussions. Perhaps the toughest part is actually starting the conversation.
We know the conversation can be hard, so we’ve compiled some resources below that you may find helpful as you navigate the process. Seward Area Hospice does not endorse any of these resources, as each person is unique in their beliefs, wishes, and circumstance. We are providing them to you as information that you may or may not decide to use. These links will redirect you from our website:
The Conversation Project http://theconversationproject.org/
Five Wishes https://www.agingwithdignity.org/
Prepare for Your Care https://www.prepareforyourcare.org/#/pamphlet
Being Mortal documentary http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/being-mortal/
Why do you need an Advance Directive?
Completing advance directive forms allows your family, loved ones, and health care team to share the same understanding of your wishes. It provides you with the reassurance that your wishes are heard, understood, and will be carried out if you are unable to communicate them yourself.
How do you access Advance Directive documents?
Advance directives are intended to provide documentation of your health care wishes and preferences regardless of where you reside, but the actual documents often differ from state to state. Some states now offer the ability to create or modify advance directives online and some also have an option to store the documents in an online registry. No matter how you create your advance directive, please remember that the documents can be updated at any time and as often as you choose.
You can find information about advance directives in the state of Alaska here:
We have paper forms available at Seward Area Hospice for you to look at and complete.
What should you do with your completed Advance Directive?
Once your advance directive is complete, we recommend that you:
Provide a copy to whomever you chose to make decisions on your behalf.
Provide a copy to those important to you; loved ones, friends, and physician.
Place the documents somewhere easily accessible if needed in an emergency, not locked away somewhere. Consider keeping a copy in the car along with your automobile registration.