Guest Editorial: Advance Care Planning Coalition of Greater Toledo

What if you were in a car accident and so badly hurt that you could not speak for yourself? Would your family know what your wishes for treatment would be? 
If your frail, elderly father was rushed to the emergency room, would the hospital staff know how aggressively to treat him?

My name is Laurie Phillipps and I am the president of the Advance Care Planning Coalition of Greater Toledo. You might be surprised to know that fewer than 24 percent of Americans have completed advance directives. These are documents such as living wills and healthcare powers of attorney that make your wishes known in a medical crisis.

Even more important than these documents, are the conversations you need to have with your family and medical providers about your choices for care. 
In the event you could not speak for yourself, these conversations not only enable your loved ones to advocate for the care you desire, but also prevent them from agonizing over medical decisions and gives guidance to your medical providers.

Starting Sunday April 16, we will be observing National Healthcare Decisions week – a designated time to educate our community about the importance of advance care planning.

To better understand or complete your advance directives - or to learn more about having these important conversations with your family and medical providers, contact the Advance Care Planning Coalition's hot line at 419-725-0523.

Do not hesitate to start this process now, while you and your loved ones can talk thoughtfully and calmly about your choices. Because, as so many people have learned, it always seems too early - until it's too late.