As a physician, I have the privilege of helping patients every day, and advance-care planning is another way to do this. Advance-care planning is an ongoing process that helps you consider the type of health-care choices you would want if you can’t make decisions for yourself.
It includes having conversations about your current and future health and your beliefs and values that affect your health, and thinking about who will support you as you age.
Just as financial planning is good for your money decisions, advanced-care planning is good for your health and health-care decisions.
It is covered as a Medicare insurance benefit, and the S.C. Medical Association is working with many organizations to make it available to everyone.
If you have an advance directive such as a health-care power of attorney and have had a change in your health condition or your family relationships, an annual review is especially important.
Equally important, documenting your decisions in your medical records makes them accessible when you need them the most. This will help your doctors and nurses make sure your wishes are honored when you can’t speak for yourself.
I urge everyone to make advanced-care planning part of your health-care plan today.
John Ropp, M.D.
Board of Trustees, S.C. Medical Association