Can discussing advance directives with family actually be fulfilling? Brad Stuart M.D., Chief Medical Officer for Sutter Care at Home may be speaking from the heart about the importance of goals of care discussions, but as a leader of the Advanced Illness Management program, there is some pretty incredible research showing the benefits of advance care planning for healthcare truly delivered around the wishes of each individual patient.

Sutter Health has produced an awesome video series to highlight the importance of advance care planning and National Healthcare Decisions Day. Below are some videos and quotes from Brad Stuart, M.D. and Rosemary Gerber, a program manager for the Advanced Illness Management (AIM) program implemented by Sutter Care at Home. The AIM program was recently highlighted in the Wall Street Journal for it's success in the secondary (to the increased quality of care) benefit of healthcare cost reduction which results when patients designate care that they really want, based on individuals engaging in informed medical decision making.

Barriars to Communication

This is a great clip for people having a hard time getting the goals of care and advance care planning conversation going within their family.

"The truth is, it's not depressing at all, it's fulfilling"

Why is NHDD important?

"It's the way to be responsible to who you love"

Understanding Legal Implications

  • When is an advance directive legally binding?

Utilizing the "What If" Strategy

  • Rosemary Gerber discusses one strategy for initiating difficult conversations.

They've also highlighted some great steps individuals can take today:

  1. Get clear on what you want – or what you don’t want – Before you talk with friends and family, and before you start filling out an advance directive, look inward. Think about what’s important to you and what you would want to happen if you were no longer able to make decisions for yourself.
  2. Talk with your family – If you haven’t completed an advance directive or communicated your wishes, your family may be placed in the stressful position of making a difficult choice about your medical care without understanding your desires. Your loved ones can feel more confident during a health crisis if they know what you want.
  3. Talk to your doctor – Be proactive and have an honest conversation with your primary care provider. Get your questions answered early and alleviate any concerns you may have.
  4. Fill out your advance directive – Once you know what you want, complete an advance directive (visit click here to download a template). Keep a copy for yourself; give one to your doctor and your family.

Keep up with Sutter Health & Dr. Stuart on Twitter: