Before a Crisis, Be Prepared

As an on-call chaplain at our local hospital,  I see many patients that are being prepped for surgery. More often that not, patient’s realize that they do not have a healthcare power of attorney or advance directives and need to put something in place.  With the surgeons, anesthesiologists, and nurses waiting – this is not the optimal time to be making these decisions.  It often contributes added stress at a time when the person needs peace of mind.

Appointing an agent to make health care decisions and articulating advance directives involves considering spiritual wishes as well as medical concerns.  These decisions need to be made before a crisis occurs.  This process needs to become a routine part of every person’s life so that forethought can be applied. We need to move away from the spontaneous, reflexive decision-making to a process that allows for deliberate, purposeful discernment, and time for the communication of our wishes to those we love and those who will provide our care.

Only when we can achieve this kind of planning and decision-making can we truly “Be At Ease”.

Don Andler, On-Call Chaplain
Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital