Consumer’s Tool Kit for Health Care Advance Planning

Apr 15, 2008

In honor of National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD), Wednesday April 16, 2008, the next couple weeks will be devoted to providing information and sharing resources for advance health care planning.  Please join me for my Monticello NHDD event or contact participating organizations in your state to find a local event.  Check out this page for all the postings on NHDD and advance care planning.    

Perhaps the most comprehensive online resource for advance care planning is the ABA Commission on Law and Aging’s Consumer’s Tool Kit for Health Care Advance Planning.  Advance care planning is a difficult process.  It requires you to do some soul searching; think about your values; contemplate serious illness, injury, and death; consider numerous situations and possible treatments; and share your thoughts, feelings, and wishes with family and health care providers.  The ABA Commission on Law and Aging attempts to make this an easier process by providing 10 “tools” to help you make decisions on advanced care planning and talk to your family and doctors.  These tools include things to think about, various quizes to help you make decisions and communicate them to others, and scripts to get the conversation started.  The tool kit also includes a guide for health care agents and information on other resources.  If you are having trouble getting started with your advance health care planning, I suggest you take a look at the tool kit.

The 10 Tools of the Tool Kit are:

1.  How to Select Your Health Care Agent or Proxy

2.  Are Some Conditions Worse than Death?

3.  How do You Weigh Odds of Survival? 

4.  Personal Priorities and Spiritual Values Important to Your Medical Decisions

5.  After Death Decisions to Think About Now

6.  Conversation Scripts: Getting Past the Resistance

7.  The Proxy Quiz for Family & Physician

8.  What to do After Signing Your Health Care Advance Directive

9.  Guide for Health Care Proxies

10.  Resources: Advance Planning for Health Care