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Advance Care Planning

The Best Gift You Could Give Your Family

Ease the Stress on Family, Friends and Yourself

It is difficult for people to make decisions when under pressure or emotional strain, particularly in areas where there are no clear-cut answers, such as the use of life-sustaining treatments and determining choices of health care. These issues require a great deal of discussion and careful thought. This information has been presented in the hope that you will discuss it with your physician and others and come to a decision that is right for you and those you love.

It is the policy of Avera facilities to provide high-quality medical care to all patients with the objective of saving and sustaining life. However, this commitment involves recognition that beginning and/or continuing treatment may not be in the patient’s best interest when the burdens of such treatment outweigh the benefits. At these times, the objective is to allow as peaceful a death as possible.

There may come a time when you or a member of your family is seriously injured or becomes gravely ill. In the midst of your stress and grief, you may be asked to make difficult decisions about medical care, such as whether life-support systems should be used or withdrawn. While advances in medical technology have saved thousands of lives, sometimes this technology raises more questions than answers and makes decisions about choices of medical care that much more difficult. Because of this, it is important that you and your family members learn about the choices of medical care available and discuss the kinds of treatment you would feel comfortable with before the need for such care and treatment arises.

While making these decisions can be difficult, many people can help you. In addition to your doctor, our nurses, pastoral care staff and social service workers are ready to help any person or family with the emotional, moral and ethical concerns that accompany such a decision. We urge you to talk freely to any of these people.

Get started with your advance care planning with the Personal Choices Booklet (PDF).