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Advance care planning: 2 Your Well-Being

Making your end-of-life healthcare decision known is about a lot more than just documents. A Cone Health Doctor explains the process.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — You never know when a situation could arise that would make you unable to make your own decisions, including when it comes to your health care. Have you thought about what you would like in the event of a health emergency? Cone Health says every adult should, regardless of age.

That's why Dr. Gene Freeman with Cone Health Palliative Care Services joined 2 Wants to Know to discuss advance care planning.

What is advance care planning? 

The National Institute of Health said advance care planning involves learning about the types of decisions that might need to be made in the event you cannot make them. It involves considering those decisions ahead of time and then letting others know, both your family and your healthcare providers, about your preferences. 

Cone Health said there are five different advance care directives:

  1. Living will
  2. Health care power of attorney
  3. Medical order of scope treatment (MOST)
  4. Do not resuscitate (DNR)
  5. Advance Instruction for Mental Health Treatment

Cone Health said everyone 18 and older can benefit from creating advance directives. You are able to update your advance directives at any time, as long as you’re mentally competent.

Your advance care directive goes into effect when you can no longer make your own healthcare choices and:

  • You have a terminal illness leading to death
  • You are unconscious and not expected to wake up
  • You have significant dementia or other profound mental function loss

Cone Health said you should share your directives with close family, friends and/or caregivers. They also recommend you share them with your healthcare providers, who can also offer suggestions about initiating conversations about advance care.

When you finish your advance care directives, they can be stored online through your health care provider. Cone Health also recommends giving copies to your loved ones and your healthcare provider.

For information on how to get started, and for help with the process, you can go to conehealth.com/advancecare.

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