AtlantiCare Well4Life to tout importance of advance directives

For Immediate Release: April 10, 2015

AtlantiCare's Well4Life website will feature information about advance directives the week of Monday, April 13 – in advance of National Healthcare Decisions Day (Thursday, April 16), a day to inspire, educate and empower people about the importance of advance care planning.

The Well4Life website is an online wellness resource with health assessment tools and blog postings on health and wellness topics. The website will feature a blog post on Monday, April 13 about advance directives by Deborah Bayer, DO, medical director for Palliative Care and Hospice. On Wednesday, April 15, it will feature a video by Elizabeth Eble, APN, Palliative Program Coordinator, AtlantiCare.

"Death is a difficult subject for most people," says Bayer. "Creating an advance directive, such as a living will or naming a healthcare proxy, helps your family and loved ones know what kind of care you want toward the end of your life," she adds.

An advance directive acts as an insurance policy. It is a legal document that details your directions and preferences regarding your medical care or mental health care. It takes effect only when you are unable to speak for yourself.

Advance directives come in several forms and can serve different purposes:

a living will establishes and records which life-sustaining treatments you do or do not want, and can establish goals for medical care;a Durable Power of Attorney names a person who will make healthcare decisions in your stead, in the event that you are unable to make decisions for yourself;POLST (Practitioner Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment) is a doctor-designed form detailing your wishes for life-sustaining treatment and establishing goals for medical care. It is a medical order, which a physician or advanced practice nurse writes in collaboration with a patient or with the durable power of attorney and, once completed, becomes part of your medical record.

The conversations that lead up to this kind of planning can be touchy or emotional. Bayer suggests having a series of conversations, starting with broader topics, such as what goals or milestones you would like to reach or achieve – and further suggests painting a picture of your ideal "golden years."

 

For more information, visit AtlantiCare's Advance Directives web page.

You can also find more tips and frequently asked questions on the NJDHSS website advanced directives page.

For more information on advance directives, visit www.atlanticarewell4life.org or call the AtlantiCare Access Center 1-888-569-1000.

Media Contacts:

Jennifer Tornetta, (O) 609-569-7010, (C) 609-335-3446, jennifer.tornetta@atlanticare.org

Betsy Woerner, (O) 609-748-7539, (C) 609-385-6361, betsy.woerner@atlanticare.org

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AtlantiCare is an integrated system of services designed to help people achieve optimal health. It includes AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center, AtlantiCare Health Engagement, the AtlantiCare Foundation, and AtlantiCare Health Services. Its more than 5,221 employees and more than 700 physicians serve the community in nearly 70 locations. A 2009 Malcolm Baldrige Award winner, AtlantiCare was also included in Modern Healthcare's Best Places to Work in Healthcare in 2010. ARMC became the 105th hospital in the nation to attain status as a Magnet™ designated hospital in March of 2004 and was redesignated a Magnet™ hospital in 2008 and 2013.