I remember filing my taxes for the first time using the 1040EZ “short form”. It was the simplest of tax forms to use when filing individually. Yet I felt overwhelmed and worried I would make mistakes. The language was foreign to me. What is this W2? The education process about where my hard-earned money was actually going (besides in my pocket) was just getting started. We are provided with state and federal tax forms and we have a responsibility to complete them ourselves, yet many of us rely on the experience of experts to help us.   

When a patient enters a hospital or other organization that receives Medicare or Medicaid funding, it is required by law that the facility provides written information about the right to make decisions to accept or refuse medical care (Patient Self-Determination Act of 1991). Additionally, the act stipulates that advanced directives may be used when a patient cannot speak for themselves regarding healthcare decisions.

Picture this, when someone is admitted to the hospital for a short stay, and does not have advance directives, an employee is required by law to give them written forms about advance directives to read and complete on their own. A few days later when they are discharged, what do you think happens to that folder they brought home with the advance directive information? It likely goes right in the trash. Even if they read some of the materials, the language and decisions they have to make might have them feeling overwhelmed and worried and without the experience of an expert to help, they never complete them.  

Facilities are required by law to provide the forms but are not required to follow through and help you complete the forms. Wait a minute, say what? Just like doing your taxes, this is your responsibility. You can advocate for yourself to receive the care you want at a time when you are not able to speak for yourself by completing your advance directive. If you are overwhelmed and don’t understand it, I can support you. It’s a matter of expressing yourself.

Email me at [email protected] or call 847-901-3888 to complete your advance directive.

“Do something today that your future self will thank you for.” – Sean Patrick Flanery

 

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