Q: What is advance care planning and why is it important?
A: “There are three types of advance care planning documents in the state of Ohio: There’s the living will, there’s the health care power of attorney document and then there’s the do not resuscitate preference form,” says Dr. Beth McLaughlin, chief medical officer at Hospice of the Western Reserve. “So, I think all three of those are important to do — it’s a gift to the family when there is a crisis to have those prepared. I tell people that if you only want to have one of those, the most important is the health care power of attorney document where you establish one person who will be the decision maker if you cannot speak for yourself. Then there has to be a conversation with whoever you designate as the health care power of attorney, so they know what to do when they’re called upon. Because your health care power of attorney should try to put into play the wishes of the patient — of the person, not their own values. So it’s important to know what values and wishes are of the person.”