Advance Directive Videos Available

AlaHA has released two advance directives videos.

Advance Care Planning Week was held April 16-22.

One video is designed for consumers and describes why advance directives are important and how individuals can make their own directives. The other video provides suggestions for physicians on how they can have these important conversations with patients.

The videos are narrated by Monica Williams-Murphy, MD, a Huntsville Hospital emergency department physician and end of life author and lecturer, and were funded by a federal grant through a CMS Partnership for Patients Initiative.

“As an emergency department physician, I see too many patients with terminal illnesses who have made no preparation in advance as to the care they would want in an emergency situation,” said Dr. Williams-Murphy.  “It’s an awful situation both for the patient and particularly for the family members when a patient can no longer speak for himself, and the family has not had those important discussions with him about his wishes.”

According to Dr. Williams-Murphy, an advance directive is a document all adults should have that describes the type of care they would want or not want if they become terminally ill or injured and cannot speak for themselves.  It covers situations such as would you want to have a machine breathe for you or be fed with a feeding tube in the event you are in the last stages of life with  no hope for recovery.

“Too often, physicians and hospital staff members are placed in an extremely uncomfortable position when these discussions have not taken place,” added Donald E. Williamson, MD, president of the Alabama Hospital Association.  “Hospital caregivers want to honor the wishes of the patient, but they need to know exactly what the patient wants, and the patient should have had these discussions with his or her family well in advance.  That’s why we’re hoping these videos will be utilized in community settings, at civic groups, church meetings, etc.  Every Alabamian should have an advance directive and should let their physician, family member and hospital staff know they have one and what it says.”

Links to the videos, along with a copy of the state advance directive form, can be downloaded here.

For more information, contact Rosemary Blackmon, (800) 489-2542