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Wellbeing Activity Spurs End-of-Life Planning

Published in Home Health Services, Hospice Services, For the Health of It, Advance Care Planning Author: Mary Eisenschenk, BSN, RN, St. Cloud Hospital Transitions Coach

I have been a Registered Nurse for many years in many areas of CentraCare. Presently, I work as a St. Cloud Hospital Transitions Coach. During the pandemic, Transitions Coaches began following COVID-19 patients after discharge. My heart was struck by how many patients did not have health care directives, which complicated identifying goals of care for medical staff and families.

I have always recognized the significance of health care directives and the important discussions that occur as the document is completed with family. The health care directive offers guidance and consolation when family or medical staff need to make difficult decisions.

Honestly, I used to teach local community health care directive courses. I had a pile of health care directive packets on top of my fridge for many years, but never completed one thinking I am young and healthy. After reading many patient charts during the pandemic, one of my personal goals was to complete a health care directive for myself.

I was thrilled to see completing a health care directive was added as a CentraCare employee wellness activity. That motivated me to contemplate my wishes for care and the document only took me 15-20 minutes to complete. It also inspired me to share my health care wishes with my husband. I feel good knowing my health care directive is completed, filed in my medical record, and a copy of my road map has been given to my husband and my health care agents.

Life is uncertain — we don’t know what lies ahead. Please take some time to reflect on what is important to you, have some conversations with loved ones, and document your medical wishes in a health care directive.

To get started on planning your road map, visit Advance Care Planning. Free educational sessions are offered through our community partner, Light The Legacy.