Advance Care Planning

Advance Care Planning

In the time of an emergency, it is usually too late to get your Advance Directives completed and to have an “end of life” conversation about your wishes. You never know if something could happen to you or your loved one when driving to the grocery store. Are you prepared for “end of life” decision making? Do you know what “Advance Care Planning” is? No matter what age you are, it’s important for your loves one/decision makers to know how you would like to be cared for if your unable to make decisions for yourself.

What is Advance Care Planning? Making plans for the health care that you would want during a serious illness is called “advance care planning”. Planning involves learning about your illness, understanding choices for treatment and care, talking with family and health care providers, and completing a written documentation about care choices, choosing someone to make choices if you cannot.

Advance Care Planning Documents:

Living Will spells out your decisions for treatments and life sustaining measures such as mechanical breathing (respirations and ventilation), tube feeding or resuscitation.

Durable Power of Attorney for health care names a health care proxy, who is the person who makes choices for you when you cannot. If you do not name a health care proxy, States generally have rules about how families can make care decisions for you.

Financial Power of Attorney names an agent to handle your financial affairs when you are not able to too.

POLST (Provider Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment) form can be obtained from your health care providers. This form is an option for people with a serious illness that is likely to get worse over time or people with frailty – such as advance heart or lung disease – whose health care professionals would not be surprised if they died within a year.

Advance Directives can be changed at any time. Your encouraged to review your advance directives yearly and have regular conversations with your “designated agent” because as we age, our views may change related to our current situation/health problems.

Before a notary can assist in notarizing any documents you should know this:

1. A current photo Identification is required. IDs can be - a passport, driver's license or state ID that is current or expired less than three years, a military or student ID, or other government issued ID.

2. The signer must have the mental compacity to understand what they are signing. Some common situations that may impact the signer's awareness is an elderly person who is suffering from confusion, dementia, or Alzheimer's. A notary will monitor the signer's capacity during the appointment to assure they have a good understanding of they are signing.

3. A Notary has the right to refuse if:

  • The signer is not present.
  • The document is incomplete or blank.
  • The document has white-out on it.
  • The notary has a financial interest in the notarization.
  • The signer has been adjudicated mentally incapacitated and has not been restored to capacity as a matter of record. The notary is unable to communicate with the signer.

Other Disqualifying Situations:

  • You know or suspect the transaction is false, illegal, or deceptive.
  • The act being requested is not an authorized notarial act.
  • The request is made outside of your regular office hours.
  • The request violates your workplace guidelines.

4. Glendive Medical Center’s notary will assist in completing advance directives at no charge for patients and residents. We are also able to assist in filing your documents with Medical Records department, so they are available in your electronic medical record.

If you would like to visit further about Advance Care Planning and/or to complete your advance directives, please call Christina Sager, 406-345-3338 to schedule an appointment. If you have a notary question, please contact Julie Borst at 406-345-3364.