It’s Not Just Up to Doctors
The New York Times’ Health section recently covered the American Medical Association’s initiative encouraging doctors to discuss advance care planning with their patients (“Coverage for End-of-Life Talks Gaining Ground”). Such an initiative is important because we need to be respecting medical professionals for their time.
But the fact is, people should be creating advance directives before they are someone’s patient. We can’t rely on a doctor to guide us in creating a plan because only we know best our own priorities and values. That is why at MyDirectives, we work to empower people to create a quality advance care plan that they can update as their lives evolve. With such a plan in advance, when and if a crisis occurs, people are better prepared for more thorough conversations with a doctor –and this conversation should be reimbursed. As New York Times Your Money reporter Alina Tugend reminded us this week, medical history and living will are among the most important documents to discuss and share with loved ones.
Just as people should save for retirement, get the oil changed to keep their engines running, or floss to avoid a root canal, creating an advance care plan is a personal decision to take control of the future.
It is a conversation for the kitchen table, not the operating table.
Common sense says waiting for a crisis isn’t logical because accidents can happen at any time. If we really want to improve health care, in addition to reimbursing doctors for their time, healthcare leaders also need to take responsibility and do the right thing by incentivizing consumers to get their voices heard.
[Photo credit: New York Times]