National Healthcare Decision week is April 16-22

In health care settings, we frequently see families that are confused, and often in conflict, as they struggle with health care decisions for a loved one; decisions are made under extreme pressure, resulting in stress, uncertainty and guilt about decisions. Unfortunately, families often do not talk about these important decisions in advance.
It does not have to be this way. Planning and talking in advance is a wonderful gift that you give to your family. Along with other hospitals, Ridgeview Medical Center and Ridgeview Sibley Medical Center participate in Honoring Choices Minnesota, an initiative focused on creating awareness and providing resources to help people in this important process.
The goal is that the person will receive the care they want to receive.  Many people (about 70 percent) say they would want to die peacefully, perhaps at home, surrounded by the people they love.  Studies show almost the exact opposite happens . . . 70 percent die in the intensive care, often receiving care they may not have wanted. If they are not proactive – they may end up in the intensive care unit.

All adults have a right to indicate who would speak for them if they were unable to speak on their own, and to indicate something about what their wishes would be for care they would/would not want to receive.  However, historically there have been issues:

  • Low prevalence of advance directives in the medical record
  • When completed, document may be unavailable when needed
  • Information in directive may be unknown to designated decision maker or physician
  • Terms may be vague, not providing clear clinical direction when needed

In hospitals, we see the negative situations when people have not participated in this process.  A loved one is in the intensive care, not able to speak or make their own decisions.  Critical decisions need to be made now under stressful circumstances.  The health care providers turn to the family . . .  they do not know what the person would have wanted.  Often there is disagreement among the family members about what should be done.

The literature indicates about 80 percent of people die in health care facilities, most after experiencing the long trajectory of chronic life-threatening illness.  Nearly half of these people are incapable of participating in their healthcare decisions.

  • Death is inevitable.
  • At some point a person may not be able to make decisions or speak.
  • Personal preferences differ about what people would or would not want done at end-of-life.
  • When uncertain, the default medical order is to treat.

Over the past few years, as we have worked with community members, we see two big areas of concern; a lack of accurate information about CPR and not knowing the processes that need to be done in advance if a person wants to limit health care interventions.  People who attend our free community programs indicated they really learned a lot.

Join us for one of these sessions . . . they are free and open to all. 

Ridgeview Medical Center, Waconia

  • Saturday, May 6, 10 – 11:30 a.m. Ridgeview Community Auditorium
  • Monday, May 15, 10 – 11:30 a.m. Conference Rooms A & B

Ridgeview Sibley Medical Center, Arlington

  • Tuesday, May 9, 6:30 - 8 p.m., Conference Room A
  • Saturday, May 20, 9 – 10:30 a.m., Conference Room A

For additional dates, or to register online go to Ridgeview's Classes and Events listing or call 952-777-5098 . To learn more about Advance Care Planning, visit Ridgeview's Advance Care Planning page.