By Eileen McNichols, Little Company of Mary Hospital
Most adults prefer to make important decisions about their life for themselves. Not that you don’t seek input from trusted friends and family members, a pastor or other personal counselor, but ultimately the decision is yours. This is known as autonomy. When it comes to healthcare, autonomy means the right of a competent adult to make informed decisions about their own medical care.
Typically, you don’t ponder the intricacies of medical care when you are doing well. However, when crisis occurs, you may be compromised intellectually, emotionally and spiritually. Is this the best time to make decisions that can affect the rest of your life? If you were to become incapacitated, does anyone know what your preferences in a difficult medical situation would be? Would your spouse or adult child be comfortable or have the emotional ability to make a decision about medical care on your behalf if you were incapacitated?
While this may seem like a difficult topic to throw out at the dinner table, consider the alternative: Living a life in a compromised state in which you no longer have control over what is happening to you. Give your loved ones a valuable gift. Relieve them of the burden of making these difficult decisions. Make them yourself.
National Health Care Decision Week is Apr. 15-21. Utilize this week as an opportunity to have a conversation with a trusted person about your preferences for healthcare. Complete a Healthcare Power of Attorney (HCPOA) document and designate a trusted person to be your healthcare agent, your voice if you cannot speak for yourself. This form is simple to fill out yet will play a crucial role should the time come when it is needed. You do not need an attorney and the document does not need to be notarized. This form simply ensures that your preferences will drive the decisions that need to be made about your medical care.
On Sat., Apr. 13, 2to 3 p.m., Little Company of Mary Hospital, 2800 W. 95th St., will hold a free seminar on Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare Seminar. For information or to register, call 708- 4223-5774. For more information, and to access a simple HCPOA to download and complete, visit www.lcmh.org/yourchoice. In other words, no matter what happens, and God willing nothing will happen, You’re the Boss.
More April Programs at Little Company of Mary Hospital (info/registration: 708-423-5774)
Annual Adult Health Fair, Sat., Apr. 6, 7:30 to 10 a.m., comprehensive lab work including a take home colon rectal screening kits. Learn about our Primary Stroke Center, how to minimize your risk of having a stroke and what to do if you suspect someone is having a stroke. Fee $75. Registration required.
Health Academy: “Here We Go Again – Updates on Colon Health,” Mon., Apr. 8, p 11 a.m. to noon, presented by Dr. Michael Hurtuk. Little Company of Mary Hospital. Free.
Skin Cancer Screening with Dr. Sonya Kenkare, Thurs., Apr. 18, 1 to 3 p.m. Free. If you have an area of concern, Dr. Kenkare will exam and provide guidance to prevent melanoma. Registration required