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ACP: Answering the Common Questions of Advanced Care Planning

Home Health Care

It’s official: the Baby Boomers are getting older! According to a recent article in senior living, nearly 10,000 Baby Boomers will reach retirement age each day until 2030. As the generation enters into their golden years, it may be time to start thinking about advance care planning. 

What is Advance Care Planning?

As best explained by the home health care professionals at Expicare Nursing, advance care planning, also known as ACP, is the act of choosing a health care plan and sharing it with your loved ones and health care team. Quite simply, it’s the process of determining your health care goals in case you fall ill. Once determined, you can then ensure others are informed of your desires and are given the tools to follow through on your wishes. 

What are the steps of Advance Care Planning?

ACP can be split into five separate components. 

  1. Research: This stage involves the patient thinking about their future health care plans and searching for health care plans that match their wishes.
  2. Designate: Once you have decided your health care plan, it’s time to decide your health care agent. This is a trusted individual who can make decisions for you in the future should you be unable to.
  3. Discussion: After deciding your plan, it’s important to get everyone in your network on the same page. Let them know your wishes and what you see their role being should you fall ill.
  4. Document: Write everything down! Have all pertinent information in a binder or folder that can be copied and distributed to your health care team.
  5. Update: Check in with yourself as you grow, be ready to re-engage with your ACP and actively choose what feels right to you. 

How long is the process of Advance Care Planning?

ACP is not a process that can be pre-determined. It helps to think of it as a living document that reflects your wishes. What you want today may differ from what you want in a decade. Thus, just as you are never done growing, it’s never too late to update your ACP document. 

When should I undergo ACP?

There is a pervasive myth going around that ACP is just for those who have received a recent diagnosis or other medical phenomenon. In fact, it’s better to undergo ACP sooner rather than later. You want to make these decisions when you are of sound mind and not feeling an impending deadline. 

So, when it comes to planning your future, there’s no time like the present!

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