Baton Rouge, LA – All four hospitals that are part of the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System (FMOLHS) recognize the fifth annual National Healthcare Decisions Day, April 16, 2012 – a day marked to raise awareness about the importance of advance care planning.
The Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System includes St. Francis Medical Center in Monroe, LA, Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge, LA, Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center in Lafayette, LA, and St. Elizabeth Hospital in Gonzales, LA.
Advanced care planning, also known as advanced directive are legal documents that explain your choices about medical treatment or designate someone to make decisions about your medical treatment if you are too ill or hurt to express your wishes.
Louisiana law recognizes two types of advance directives: a Declaration Concerning Life-Sustaining Procedures (also known as a Living Will) and Power Of Attorney for Healthcare. You may also be familiar with a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order. It is important to understand the difference between a living will and a DNR order. A DNR declares your wishes not to be revived if you experience a cardiac arrest (your heart stops beating) or a respiratory arrest (you stop breathing). A living will covers all types of life-sustaining treatments and procedures if you develop a terminal and irreversible condition.
“Less than 25% of people have completed a Living Will and less than that actually talk about what it means,” explained Dr. Susan Nelson, Medical Director of Senior Services for the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady. “National Healthcare Decisions Day exists to remind us all, regardless of our age or current health, of the importance of making these decisions known.”
While making healthcare decisions is often difficult in the best of circumstances, making decisions for others is even more complicated. Each of us has the ability to guide our healthcare providers and our loved ones about what we want. Advance directives give you the ability to document the types of healthcare you do and do not want, and to name an “agent” to speak for you if you cannot speak for yourself. Visit nationalhealthcaredecisionsday.org for more information.