WellSpan Health is encouraging local residents to have a conversation with their loved ones about their wishes about end-of-life medical care, and to develop an advance care plan, in observance of National Healthcare Decisions Day on Tuesday, April 16.
“Sharing your wishes for end-of-life care with your trusted loved ones is the best gift you can give them,” says Roberta Geidner, WellSpan Coordinator of Horizon Planning. “It comforts and reassures them that they are doing the right thing, at the right time during a difficult period. Families are so grateful for the peace of mind when they know and can carry out their loved one’s wishes about their care. They will realize the true value of this gift after we are gone.”
WellSpan supports this process through Horizon Planning, a free, self-directed advance care planning program that educates people about how to have these conversations with loved ones and the types of decisions that need to be made.
The Horizon Planning program offers online resources to help individuals plan, organize and record those decisions. They include tips and suggestions for starting the conversation with loved ones about end-of-life wishes, as well as a living will form, a durable power of attorney for health care form, and information regarding physician orders for life-sustaining treatment.
The materials are available free on WellSpan’s website at WellSpan.org/Horizon-Planning.
All advance care planning documents should be submitted to a primary care provider and the person’s hospital to become part of the individual’s health record. WellSpan Health has developed several processes to help patients record their wishes in their electronic medical record.
The regional health system recently worked with the York County Bar Association to establish a process where attorneys who work with WellSpan patients on their advance care planning can securely transmit the documents to WellSpan’s medical records office.
WellSpan patients also have access to the Horizon Planning information and forms on the MyWellSpan online patient portal. Patients who log onto their secure portal can watch a video and then organize and plan their wishes, adding documents and naming health care agents for themselves. The information becomes part of patients’ electronic health record, accessible and on file wherever they go within the WellSpan system.
About WellSpan Health
WellSpan Health is an integrated health system that serves the communities of central Pennsylvania and northern Maryland. The organization is comprised of approximately 1,500 employed physicians and advanced practice clinicians, a regional behavioral health organization, a home care organization, eight respected hospitals, more than 19,000 employees, and more than 170 patient care locations. WellSpan is a charitable, mission-driven organization, committed to exceptional care for all, lifelong wellness and healthy communities.