Making healthcare decisions is difficult, so prepare

April 16, 2018 is National Healthcare Decisions Day. In furtherance of St. Mary’s mission and values, particularly our respect for human dignity, we encourage individual awareness of and participation in advance healthcare planning and decision-making. Making healthcare decisions is difficult; making healthcare decisions for loved ones can be even more challenging if there has not been open discussion and understanding. Advance directives are a gift of love, enabling persons to choose an advocate and articulate their wishes in writing if they are unable to do so for themselves.

St. Mary’s Healthcare offers several opportunities throughout the year to learn more about Advance Care Planning. Information about healthcare proxies, living wills and Medical Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment is available by visiting our website at www.smha.org. Additionally, community members are invited to join us on April 21, from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. for our free medical mission at home event. St. Mary’s providers and associates will be available to answer healthcare questions, including questions about Advance Directives and how to start your own decision-making journey.

Advance Care Planning is both a challenge and a gift. Choosing who will speak for you if you are unable to do so can be a difficult decision, but the process ensures that your wishes are known and are met. What a gift you can give to family, friends and healthcare providers who only want the best for you. Your decisions will matter.

Additional resources on healthcare decisions can be found online at www.nationalhealthcaredecisionsday.org or www.compassionandsupport.org.

SR. JOAN MARY HARTIGAN

Vice president, Mission Integration

MICHAEL M. SHERIDAN

Medical director, Palliative Care

AMY L. COURTOIES

Director, Palliative Care

Amsterdam