This Is Why You Need To Talk About Your Health Care Wishes Now, Not Later

  • 0

    Roughly 95% of people say they are willing or want to talk about their health care wishes. But only 32% have actually done so.

    Experts like Cindy Coker of the S.C. Bar Association recommend talking and planning sooner, not later.

    In a recent interview with Columbia, S.C. Fox affiliate WACH, Coker said there are certain things you need to do to plan for your future health care needs and give comfort to loved ones.

    Coker says after talking with loved ones about your health care choices, it is time to choose someone who will speak for you if you are unable to speak for yourself.

    You can do this by completing a South Carolina Health Care Power of Attorney form. This process is also known as choosing a proxy.

    “The durable power of attorney gives somebody the ability to make decisions for you about all of your business dealings when you can’t,” Coker said during the segment on WACH Fox. “And the health care power of attorney lets you set out what your directives are so that when you’re in a position where you can’t make that decision or can’t tell the doctor what you want, this person already knows and can make that decision for you.”

    The health care power of attorney only comes into effect if you are unable to speak for yourself.

    She added, “Those are designed to come into play when the principal, or the person who’s giving you the authority, cannot make the decisions for themselves. So it may be that you are in a car wreck and you’re in a coma and they don’t know what you want but you’ve got a health care power of attorney to do that. And if you don’t have a health care power of attorney, then you have to look to the Adult Health Care Consent Act.”

    to Help us Thank S.C. Leaders for Making #ACP a priority.

    From there things get pretty messy — and can become quite confusing for your doctors.

    “When you have the documents, it makes it so much easier for everybody because if you don’t, then you end up running through finances, tensions within the family, families split,” said Coker. “I know of families that they don’t talk to one another because of what happened, and it’s really big issues, and it’s very damaging to your children and to the people you leave behind.”

    The health care power of attorney is very important, but so is talking with others.

    Coker continued: “The other thing you want to do is have the conversation with your family and you can use a document like the Carolinas Center’s Isn’t It Time We Talked family guide or the Five Wishes document, to say, ‘this is what I want.’ These don’t take the place necessarily of your advance directive, because there’s a lot of other information. You can have information in there about what you’d like at your funeral or how you’d like to have things done.”

    If you haven’t yet had the conversation, then now’s the time.

Help Us Thank S.C. Leaders For Empowering Patients