Step 3: Continued…

Share it with your doctor

Doctors need to know your preferences. Making decisions about your medical care on their own is NOT what they want. Yet, many do not bring up the subject because they may be concerned about frightening you with talk about end of life care.

In addition to talking with your family or friends, talking with your doctor is critical in completing the third and final step of our process – Share it with others. It’s the only way that you can complete the circle.

Every person’s wishes are unique. Everyone’s needs are different, and your doctor won’t know your personal wishes if you don’t have the conversation. The following information is provided to help you have a productive discussion with your doctor.

It’s time to talk with your doctor

Your doctors need to know how important your preferences for care are to you. Follow these steps on the day of your visit:

  1. Hand your doctor a copy of your completed Five Wishes
  2. Tell them you want the peace of mind of discussing how you want to be treated if you become seriously ill or injured in an accident. Ask them to take a few minutes to talk with you. Note: it is normal to feel uncomfortable talking about this subject. It may help to mention that it is difficult for you to discuss.
  3. All of your five wishes are important, but make sure you go over Wishes 2 and 3 of your completed document with the doctor very carefully. Discussing your preferences for pain control is critical. Many people who are seriously ill do not get the pain treatment they want according to experts in the field. The best way to protect yourself is to be very direct. If you don’t want any pain, say so.
  4. Make sure your doctor knows how much you want to be informed about your injury or illness – including the chances of recovery. Do you want the details, or just the highlights?
  5. Tell your doctor how much, if any, information should be shared with the people close to you.
  6. Ask your doctor for their thoughts on the types of medical decisions you are likely to encounter given your medical history. This may provide additional insight that allows you to better customize your instructions in Five Wishes.
  7. Ask your doctor to add your Five Wishes document to your medical file — AND to note the conversation in the chart.

Update, update, update

People change their minds about their preferences or who they want their health care agent to be. If you change your mind, don’t forget to update your Five Wishes, tell your doctor about it, and have them update your medical file. Let the 5 D’s be a trigger for re-examining your plan click here.