A couple reviewing advance directives paperwork

Are you prepared?

A family member has a health crisis. Who will be in charge of their healthcare needs as power of attorney? Do you know their wishes and beliefs? Have they updated their will recently?

From a car wreck to the diagnosis of a life-threatening illness, people are faced with experiences they never intended to have and often haven’t shared their values, preferences and beliefs with their families.

Though most people are never prepared for a crisis, advance directives— which range from a healthcare power of attorney to making a living will – can help.

“One myth people think is ‘I’m not a senior citizen or I don’t have a terminal illness so I don’t need to worry about advanced directives,’” said Wes Collins, advance care planning coordinator for Spartanburg Medical Center. “Every adult is encouraged to have an advanced directive in the event of a sudden, unexpected illness or injury leaves them incapacitated.” 

A living will can guide physicians and families in medical care decisions and are necessary when someone is unable to make medical decisions, or a condition has threatened someone’s well-being.

Here are some things you should do to be prepared:

  • Get information on the types of life-sustaining treatments that are available.
  • Decide what types of treatment you would want or would not want.
  • Share your end-of-life wishes and preferences with your loved ones.
  • Make sure you prepare your advance directive to reflect your decisions and beliefs.
  • Be sure to make your physician and loved ones aware of your specific requests, so appropriate referrals and arrangements can be made.

You do not need a lawyer to prepare advance directives. South Carolina-specific advance directives can be found online. In most states, you can include special requests in your advance directives such as wishes about organ donation, cremation or burial.

Learn more about advanced directives at our National Healthcare Decisions Week events:

Tuesday, April 17, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Thomas E. Hannah YMCA

Wednesday, April 18, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Immediate Care Center Gaffney

Thursday, April 19, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Middle Tyger River YMCA

Friday, April 20, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Midway BBQ, Buffalo, SC

What is advanced care planning? Why is it important? Join us for a free education session to make informed choices about your health care. Registration is not required for these free events.