Advanced directives: Making your wishes known

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While making healthcare decisions is often difficult in the best of circumstances, making decisions for others is even more complicated. Each of us has the ability to guide our healthcare providers and our loved ones about what we want. Advance Directives give you the ability to document the types of healthcare you do and do not want, and to name an “agent” to speak for you if you cannot speak for yourself.

Do you have Advance Directives on file with your physician and/or the Hospital? Boundary Community Hospital staff want to be sure your wishes are known if the need arises. Advance Directives are documents that state your choices about medical treatment, or name someone to make decisions about your medical treatment, if you are unable to make those decisions yourself. They are called “Advance” Directives because they are signed in advance, to let your doctor and other health care providers know your wishes concerning your medical care. Visit the Advance Directives booth at the Hospital’s Annual Health Fair on May 11, 2019 and talk with healthcare professionals about the importance of advance directives and pick up a copy of “Idaho Advance Directives, Legal Documents to Assure Future Health Care Choices.”

An important part of your advance directives is considering organ and tissue donation which can save lives in our community. When people are asked about registering to donate, they often think of organ donation. Many don’t know what tissue donation is or that it is just as life-changing.

Just one tissue donor can enhance more than 150 lives, providing hope to the estimated one in 20 Americans who will need some type of tissue transplant in their lifetime. Local organizations like LifeNet Health, a full-service tissue bank, help recover and prepare donor tissues for transplantation and ensure they get to those in need.

Donated tissue implants, called allografts, can be used to repair injuries to bone as well as a range of damaged tissue such as tendons, ligaments, skin and more. They can also come in the form of a life-saving heart valve or grafts for post-mastectomy reconstruction for breast cancer patients.

Many people are registered donors, as demonstrated by the red heart on their driver’s license, and it’s important to understand that tissue donation is part of that. By educating families on the donation process, the hope is that even more people will be able to donate, providing critical allografts for patients within our community.

According to the California Healthcare Foundation (2012), 80 percent of people say that if seriously ill, they would want to talk to their doctor about wishes for medical treatment toward the end of their life; 82 percent of people say it’s important to put their wishes in writing. But only 23 percent have actually done it.

Discover the Health Fair Advantage and find out more about healthcare options in Boundary County at the Annual BCH Health Fair from 9 a.m. to noon on May 11.

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