Who’s Your Health Care Agent?

by Mary Harwood on November 18, 2016

couple-talking-over-coffeeDo you have a health care agent? This is a person who can speak for you when you can’t. Who knows your wishes when critical medical decisions have to be made.

We plan for all life’s milestones – marriage, birth, retirement. But few of us have plans in place for our end of life. And none of us can plan for the unexpected. Everyone 18 years and older should have a Health Care Agent – your person to speak on your behalf. By completing an advance directive you can provide this information to your family and physician.

View this video compliments of WCAX.

Every moment is precious – especially at the end-of-life. Starting the conversation early can ensure that your choices are heard. It also means that when time becomes short, you can spend it doing what you most enjoy and not making last minute decisions. Talk about your wishes while you are in good health so you will be prepared. A health crisis can happen to anyone at any time. Don’t wait. Start the conversation today. It’s a gift. The most important step is naming your health care agent. Click here for a copy of the “Appointment of a Health Care Agent” form and the Vermont Advance Directive Registry form. Click here for a copy of the Conversation Guide.

When should you start the conversation?

  • when you want to give your family the gift of having the tough decisions already made.
  • when you have a terminal illness, chronic long-term illness or life-limiting illness, or when you are the caregiver of someone in these situations
  • when you are starting a new family so that decisions are made ahead in case of unexpected injury or illness.

Take the next step. It’s Time.

  1. Call us, (802) 527-7531, for a free Conversation Guide, to learn more about your Palliative Care and Hospice options, and for help with your advance directives.
  2. Go to www.starttheconversationvt.org, for more information on starting the conversation with your family about end-of-life health care plans and advance directives.
  3. Put your plans in writing and share them with your family and health care provider as well as the online registry. Contact Vermont Ethics Network for additional information, www.vtethicsnetwork.org,  (802) 828-2909.

Start the Conversation is a program developed by the VNAs of Vermont, your non-profit home health and hospice agencies, to education Vermonters about the importance of end-of-life planning and to provide assistance with what can be a very difficult conversation.

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