A Reminder to Consider Critical Health Decisions in Advance

Apr 15, 2019

Family members don't always know the medical desires of patients. This can often lead to tough decisions.
Credit army.mil

Imagine being in a hospital, forced to make a decision for an ailing parent or loved one, with no idea what to do. National Health Care Decisions Day on Tuesday encourages people to think about critical health care decisions in advance.

“No one wants to talk about death. No one wants to talk about the last year of their life. But it’s really important that we do that.”

Bill Pfohl is the Communications Officer for Hospice CNY and the Finger Lakes. He says he’s seen the toll waiting to plan or name a healthcare proxy can take.

“Two things we hear a lot at hospice is, one, I don’t want to be a burden. And the other thing we hear is, I have no idea what mom, or dad, or grandma, or grandpa wanted, we never talked about it. That leads to a lot of stress.

That stress, for both patients and families, can be alleviated by simply having a plan. Pfohl says national Hospice studies show that if a plan is in place, people experience less stress and actually live longer. Medical advancements have prolonged life expectancy, but people are also living longer with chronic conditions. He says there’s no better time than the present for loved ones to discuss their health plans and wishes.

“Don’t wait until you get a terminal diagnosis or a very harsh diagnosis about someone you love, do it while you’re healthy. How many years did you plan your wedding day? How many years did you plan about what college you might attend? As Americans, we’re great planners and we should be planning for the last year of our life as well.”

He notes that in recent surveys 80% of Americans say they want to die at home.  But only about 20% actually do, because most don't have a plan in place.  

Pfohl says those looking for advice on how to have those sometimes-difficult discussions can find tips and recommendations at The Conversation Project website


If you would like more information about Advance Directives and/or Hospice care, you are invited to attend one of these local events.

Community Living Advocates presents:
Advance Care Planning Workshop
Tuesday, April 16th from 2 pm to 3 pm at Maple Downs
7220 E Genesee St, Fayetteville, NY

Advance Care Planning Workshop
Tuesday, April 23rd from 2 pm to 3:30 pm at Parkrose Estates
7251 Janus Park Dr, Liverpool, NY

NewsChannel 9 – WSYR-TV presents:   Live Call-In
Hospice representatives will be taking your questions about Advance Directives and Hospice Care during the Thursday, April 18th live news broadcast from 5 pm to 6:30 pm.

Onondaga County Office for the Aging & Hospice of Central New York and Hospice of the Finger Lakes presents: 
Hospice & Palliative Care: What, When & Why?
Participants will learn about end-of-life care, what it is, why it is important and when you or a loved one should consider hospice care. 
Thursday, April 25th from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm 

RSVP to: Cynthia Stevenson (315) 435-2362 Ext. 4993 or Email at CynthiaStevenson@ongov.net