Bluegrass Care Navigators encourages family conversations on National Healthcare Decisions Day

LEXINGTON – Bluegrass Care Navigators is encouraging Kentuckians to join Americans across the country to take part in National Healthcare Decisions Day on Friday, April 16. This day of awareness and education is focused on the importance of talking with loved ones about your health care wishes.

“It’s understandable that people would put off discussing the topic of serious illness, but it’s essential to have this family conversation when you are healthy,” said Liz Fowler, President and CEO, Bluegrass Care Navigators. “It’s a discussion that should take place in the living room, not in a hospital room or nursing home under stress or in crisis.”

These conversations are frequently referred to as advance care planning or advanced directives.  According to the National Institute on Aging, advance care planning involves learning about the types of decisions that might need to be made, considering those decisions ahead of time, and then letting others know—both your family and your health care providers—about your preferences.

“Knowing what is important to your loved ones when they are sick can give you confidence and reduce anxiety as a caregiver,” said Counseling Resource Officer Lindsay Kampfer.  “By having conversations today, we can prevent added uncertainty, stress and guilt for caregivers if they ever need to make decisions on your behalf.”

To document your wishes, legal documents such as a living will, healthcare power of attorney, and MOST form should be completed, kept with your medical records and in your home.  These documents will direct medical care when a patient is unable to communicate his or her own wishes due to a medical condition. Anyone 18 years of age or older can make an advance directive.

In Kentucky, the Living Will form includes two sections – first, the Health Care Surrogate section, which allows you to designate one or more persons to make health care decisions for you, if you lose the ability to decide for yourself. Second, the Living Will section documents your wishes regarding life-prolonging treatment so your Health Care Surrogate or physician will know what you want them to do.

For more information on advance care planning, visit www.NHDD.org or the Bluegrass Care Navigators website at www.bgcarenav.org.

About Bluegrass Care Navigators
Headquartered in Lexington, Bluegrass Care Navigators provides hospice care in 32 counties across central, eastern and northern Kentucky. In addition, the agency supports those facing serious illness or chronic disease with private duty nursing, home primary care, transitional care, adult day health care, and adult and pediatric palliative care services.  For more information, visit www.bgcarenav.org or call 855.492.0812.