Monday, 30 September 2013

Goals of Care: respecting patients' wishes for treatment

Each and every one of us has a very personal sense of who we are, what we like to do, and what brings the greatest meaning and value to our lives. Having control in our lives is very important to most of us. When we are faced with a significant illness and the possibility that we could die, we make choices for our treatment and care based on our diagnosis, prognosis, the potential benefits and risks associated with various treatments, as well as our personal priorities and values.

Our patients and their families have very personal hopes and goals for their lives. Respecting your wishes is very important to us at Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare (MAHC). As part of our commitment to patient focused care, we will discuss advance care planning with you upon admission, so our health care professionals have a clear understanding of your wishes.

Advance care planning is the process of thinking about, talking about, and documenting your wishes for health care should something happen and health interventions are required. Many of us think health care planning is what we do when we are near the end of our lives. However, life-changing events can happen in an instant. In order to be fully prepared, we are asking you to take the time to document your wishes.

Establishing your aims for care, which we refer to as Goals of Care, ensures you and your health care team are striving for the same outcomes in accordance your values and health aims. It also ensures the health care team is not providing unwanted treatment or therapies.

If you are admitted to the hospital, your Goals of Care will be determined in conjunction with your most responsible care provider. The Goals of Care include three categories that provide different amounts or levels of care for a patient while in hospital: resuscitative care, medical care and comfort care. These designations cover things like the “do not resuscitate” orders and/or the option to be admitted to our Intensive Care Unit, or make an informed decision about organ and tissue donation, for example.

Your Goals of Care designation clarifies treatment priorities and becomes a permanent part of your medical record so the information is readily available to all care providers at the bedside. Should your situation and/or wishes change, you can revise your Goals of Care at any time in conjunction with your most responsible care provider.

At MAHC, we are proud to support a culture that ensures patient centered decision-making and respects the wishes and values identified in these crucial conversations.

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