Advance care planning—what it is, why it’s important, how it works, and more—is the focus of a WisconsinEye “Newsmakers” program now available online featuring Wisconsin Medical Society Chief Medical Officer Donn Dexter, MD, and John Maycroft, program director for Honoring Choices Wisconsin.
Advance care planning is an ongoing process of understanding, reflecting on and discussing future medical decisions, including end-of-life preferences.
“You never plan for a tragedy to happen, to end up in intensive care,” said Dr. Dexter. “The best gift I think I’ve given my family is pretty clear direction: ‘If that’s me, this is what I want.’ Of course you can’t plan for every alternative, but if you have the discussion, the discussion guides the family. You make your wishes clear.”
The 30-minute interview, which was recorded Tuesday, stemmed from the recent release of the 2016 Physician Fee Schedule Proposed Rule by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which includes reimbursement for advance care planning. (Read more about the proposed rule in this press release.) Doctor Dexter and Maycroft shared their personal and professional experiences with advance care planning and also discussed the Society’s Honoring Choices Wisconsin program, which has been working to make advance care planning a routine and standard part of care across the state.
“It (advance care planning) shouldn’t be frightening; it shouldn’t be an onerous thing,” said Dr. Dexter. “It should be a chance for you to reflect on your life, your experiences, your desires, and lay things out if you can’t speak for yourself.”
Maycroft emphasized the importance of the process and the conversation.
“The advance directive—the document where you appoint your health care agent and express your wishes—is only as good as the conversation behind it,” he said. “The document is very important in order to get those wishes in writing and get that health care agent appointed in writing; and it can guide the health care team in very important ways. But if you just check the boxes and sign that form without a conversation, it’s going to be of limited value.”
The name “Honoring Choices Wisconsin” is used under license from Twin Cities Medical Society Foundation.
Back to July 23, 2015 Medigram