Helping families plan ahead for health crises, and end-of-life care, is an important part of what we do in geriatrics.
We call this process advance care planning, and it helps us ensure that aging adults get medical care that is a good fit for their preferences and health situation.
In other words, planning helps older adults get the care they want, and avoid the care they don’t want. Good planning can also help you figure out which care is unlikely to be helpful; understanding this is a powerful factor in what people want and don’t want.
Completing a legal form such as an advance directive or a POLST form is an important part of advance care planning, but there’s much much more to good planning ahead.
It’s especially important for family caregivers to be involved in planning, if possible, because most older adults will need family — or someone else — to help with medical decision-making during a hospitalization, or an emergency.
Here’s a list of useful posts that can help you, if you want to help an older adult plan ahead for health crises, and end-of-life care.