Monday, September 24, 2007

Plan Ahead

If you or a loved one becomes sick and need home health care, what agency should be called?

If you or a loved one can't get around and do for yourself but can still stay at home, what kind of services do you want to help you with daily living?

Most families don't know this information until the unexpected happens. Plan for the unexpected now and share your plans with family members, NOW. Unplanned decisions are uninformed decisions, and in the heat of a crisis, they are rarely in anyone's best interest. Take proactive steps now:

• Create a "Rainy Day Folder" that places all of your directives in one place and share a copy with family members.
• Fill out a Living Will so everyone will know what you want regarding any end-of-life decisions
• Make a list of all your physicians and identify the hospital of your choice in the event of an emergency
• Choose a Durable Health Care Power of Attorney so a trusted loved one can make health care decisions when you're too sick to make them
• Choose a home health agency that will provide home health visits once in hospital or inpatient skilled care is no longer necessary. An agency that can provide private duty care if needed in addition to visits by therapists and nurses will help eliminate the need to deal with multiple agencies.