Saturday, November 30, 2019

Prepare for Your Care: A Free Resource for ACP

Photo by programwitch via Creative Commons.
Because I teach in the College of Nursing and Health Professions at the University of Southern Indiana, I have the opportunity of working with several experts. This semester, I was privileged to work with Dr. Kevin Valadares, an expert in medical ethics and hospital administration.

Under Dr. Valadares' direction, I was able to participate in Advanced Care Planning (ACP) with my students (Health Care Continuum & Community Services). Sometimes people call ACP by other names, such as Living Will or Advanced Directive.

News report on ACP Grant

USI's description of this project

These are legal documents for establishing whether or not you want curative care or specific types of medical interventions such as CPR, a breathing tube, a feeding tube, or even antibiotics in the case of pneumonia or another infection.

Many people recoil from having such conversations. However, others have watched families struggle to determine how to respond to a serious medical problem suffered by a loved one who can no longer express his or her wishes.

Even a very young person can suffer a life-threatening injury or acute medical condition. While people of any age can live with a chronic illness, this is more prevalent among older adults. As a gerontologist, I have observed many people who have a chronic condition that takes a turn for the worse, rendering them incapable of articulated their wishes.

How Can You Learn about Advanced Care Planning? 

I recently went through the Prepare for Your Care resource. The Regents of the University of California host this site, but experts from a variety of universities, hospitals, and other organizations have helped prepare the information.

Here is their statement:

"PREPARE for Your Care is an online resource that helps people learn about and prepare for medical decision making. This evidenced-based tool features video stories in English and Spanish and guides users as they explore their wishes and learn how to discuss them with family, friends, and medical providers. 

The website also offers PREPARE written pamphlets as well as a Toolkit to help put on a PREPARE Group Movie Event. 

These Movie Events can be used in group medical visits or in the community. PREPARE also offers easy-to-read, legally binding advance directives for all 50 states in English and Spanish." 


  1. After years of caregiving for my mom I found out just how important these are. My husband and I both have one. (Rena)

    1. It's good that you are being pro-active. And bless you for being a caregiver.

  2. Karen, We are at the stage in life where this is a very important decision to make. I for one have filled out a Living Will and on it I left most of those type of decisions to a doctor and the person that is acting as executor of the will. If I am cognizant enough, I am depending on them talking to me at the time. It seems to me that we cannot look into the future. So many things that were "end stage" problems are becoming more treatable. I think that leaving the door open for myself is a good thing. I am 78 now and my husband is nearly 82. We are still active and my husband plays a mean golf game. The beat goes on. :)

    Barbara Torris

    1. True, it's hard to know what the specifics will look like. Even people with the same diagnosis have very different paths through life. It's hard to know. The training I've received focuses more on describing what "quality of life" means and the person's value systems rather than very specific medical interventions. That way the decision maker(s)--doctor and/or family member(s), can use a principle-based approach to making decisions about curative care and comfort care. All my best to you and your golfing aficionado spouse.