Advance Care Plans Are Critical to Optimal Patient Care
This letter to the editor was submitted to The Washington Post in response to, "Hospitals consider universal do-not-resuscitate orders for coronavirus patients," on March 26, 2020.
Getting your voice heard is critical to receiving better healthcare. People with advance care plans feel confident that, if they are unable to speak, their wishes will be known and more easily honored by their doctors and nurses.
But, since hospitals don’t have filing cabinets full of people’s advance care plans, and the people we want to speak for us are being kept away from us due to infection risk, what should we do now?
In addition to washing our hands and social distancing, we all must answer two questions: Who speaks for you when you cannot speak for yourself? And, what are your goals of care? This information can help guide doctors’ treatment decisions and improve outcomes, quality of care and patient safety.
By not calling on all Americans to create advance care plans, we give hospitals little chance to honor our wishes. Worse still, we risk creating an even longer-term global health crisis that cannot be cured by social distancing: a pervasive mistrust of our healthcare system.
Jeff Zucker is CEO of Dallas-based ADVault, Inc., creator of MyDirectives.com, the world’s leading all-digital advance care planning platform.