Advance Care Planning is the aspect of looking into a person’s future and determining what health care will be needed as they continue to age. This can often be difficult for some families to communicate about, but planning ahead will prevent unexpected mishaps in health insurance coverage when it is most needed. Looking at the individual’s health history, determining care givers and health professionals, as well as deciding what type of insurance to use are all factors in advance care planning.

Advance care planning should be an open discussion as well as a frequent one. It is suggested that the advance care planning be revisited every time a person’s health either declines or changes. By keeping up on current health trends with the person, it will enable proactive decisions to be made about health care coverage.

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There are a few items to consider when considering or utilizing advance care planning. Determining the individuals wishes and their current health status are conversations that need to occur. Aligning the proper health care that they desire with their current health status can help with present and future decisions. People can also document what they want or leave instructions for their health care professionals and family members. Advance care planning should involve physicians, patients, and family members to help ensure that all avenues are discussed openly and agreed upon.

Guidance should be agreed upon not only by the patient, but by all parties. Guidance that is firmly enforced and wished by the patient eliminates the need for panic and hasty decisions that could lead to distress. “In the moment” decisions can be very difficult for family members and physicians, and having them put into writing and approved by the patient is one of the crucial stages of advance care planning.

Advance care directives are documents that the patient creates and signs while still capable of making coherent decisions about their welfare. These documents are important pieces of guidance that explain care, health coverage, decision making and other aspects of well-being should the patient suddenly fall ill or become incapable of making decisions about their care. These documents are only used of the patient is not capable of speaking or decision-making in their current state. They are established as rules of a sort to help health care professionals and family members care for their loved one.

Advance Care planning will also help establish what benefits the person needs/wants. If the person has Medicare or other types of health coverage that they would prefer, they need to be predetermined and discussed. There are several parts to Medicare and choosing the right coverage is essential. Medicare has open enrollment periods where plans can be switched or changed to meet the person’s health care needs as they change.

Advance care planning is a plan for the present as well as the future for an individual. It helps the patient; the family members as well as the health care professionals determine what is best for the patient, either through directives or decisions that are in the patient’s best interests.