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How to talk about ACP with loved ones

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Advance Care Planning (ACP) is an important part of your health care, encouraging you to initiate life-changing conversations with loved ones who could potentially assume responsibility for your future medical care. The process of determining one’s preferences and medical decision-makers is difficult as it is – even more so when it comes time to communicate those desires with others. 

While talking about your advance care plan may seem daunting at first, we’ve outlined some steps anyone can take to ensure your wishes are respected and your medical treatment aligns with your values. 

First, set the tone. 

Ask yourself this: “Is this an environment in which my loved one and I will feel comfortable for an extended amount of time?” Because this isn’t your average, everyday conversation, you will want to discuss your advanced care plan at a time and place where you and your loved ones can have a relaxed and uninterrupted conversation. Avoid discussing ACP during family gatherings or when you or your loved ones feel stressed or emotional. 

Second, initiate the conversation. 

State your reason for this private meeting, explaining what ACP is (if they don’t already know) and why you want them involved in your plan. You want to empower your medical decision makers, equipping them with the essential information for them to decide whether or not this is something within their capacity to do. 

Be honest and clear. 

It is important to be truthful about your wishes and preferences for medical treatment. You can share your thoughts on life-sustaining treatments such as CPR, mechanical ventilation, feeding tubes, and whether you want to receive these treatments or not. 

Listen to their thoughts and concerns. 

ACP is not only about your wishes, but it also concerns the comfort of your loved ones. Listen to their thoughts and concerns and try to understand their perspectives. This will help you to have a more productive conversation and reach a mutual understanding. 

Involve your healthcare provider. 

It may be helpful to involve your healthcare provider in the conversation. Your provider can provide medical information and help you and your loved ones make informed decisions about your care. 

Put it into writing. 

After you’ve talked with your loved ones about your medical care preferences, it’s important to document them. At Koda, we make creating an advance directive easy with just four steps. 

  1. Create a Koda Account: Your healthcare provider introduces you to Koda and encourages you to begin the process.  
  2. Start your questionnaire: After you enroll you can begin building your advance care plan by answering the questions provided in the different sections.
  3. Share Your Plan: Once you’ve filled in you answers, wishes and other information into the questionnaires, you’ll see a draft of your official advance care plan document. You can print or view this online and share it with your medical decision maker and other loved ones. We encourage all our users to follow through this step before making their plan official.
  4. Sign Your Plan: Koda offers many different signing options for our users, each state has its own requirements. Many people have the option to eSign at home or schedule a remote witness signing, each a hassle-free option! *You can edit or modify this document whenever you need to, even after signing.

In conclusion, having these conversations can be difficult, but with Koda you can make them easier. It’s never too early to start the conversation about ACP with your loved ones.