A new year, a new conversation about your health
Thanks to all of you who’ve reached out to us with proof that you did something powerful and new this holiday season. You talked about and then digitally recorded your thoughts just in case of a medical emergency.
We thank Senator Bill Frist for leading the way with his important op-ed in The Hill a few weeks ago, only to be followed by Dr. Joanne Lynn’s co-written piece with our Jeff Zucker, which appeared last week in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
These messages might sound novel – but they’re just common sense. “Be Prepared” isn’t just the motto for the Boy Scouts. Did you buy your holiday plane tickets at the last minute? Do you start saving for retirement when you’re 64? Do you let your kids walk into the SAT without any practice or mental preparation?
Follow the leads Senator Frist and Dr. Lynn each outlined and ring in the new year by beginning this important dialogue with your own family. Below is a checklist to make sure you’re doing all you can to ensure your own and your loved ones’ healthcare wishes are accessible and up-to-date:
1) Talk. This isn’t a topic for only the sick or elderly. Emergencies can strike at any time. These conversations are for everyone.
2) Record. After having these often hard, though incredibly valuable, conversations, record your wishes in a legal document called an advance medical directive. It is critical to clearly document those wishes in case of emergency because your voice about your own care will help doctors, caregivers and family understand what you would or would not want in the event you can’t communicate.
3) Upload. What good is a document hidden away in a drawer that nobody can find in a crisis? Who has the time, patience or most importantly, the mental space, to fill out a form on a clipboard during an emergency? The 21st century lets consumers create, update and store their directives online. You don’t want to worry your wishes will get lost in the ether. MyDirectives provides a solution by being the reliable place doctors and emergency personnel can find your document in the event you aren’t able to communicate.
We echo Ellen Goodman’s powerful recent Washington Post interview that having a conversation with loved ones about our medical choices is not about “how we die” – it is about “how we live.” Make starting the conversation about advance directives your new year’s resolution.