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Gaston Hospice and Grief Counseling Services

Advance Care Planning

If you're wondering if it's time to think about the future -- it probably is.

As an adult, you make decisions every day, from very simple ones to more complex choices about your home, your career and your life. You plan ahead for events that you expect to happen, like vacations, special projects or a wedding.

An important choice that you might not have thought about is your choice for medical care toward the end of life. Planning ahead for this choice -- now, while you are able to -- is a gift you can give yourself and those you love. Having a plan will make it easier for you, your doctor and your loved ones if, in the future, decisions about treatment need to be made at a time when you are unable to speak for yourself.

Technology and medical advances have given us more and more choices. Critically ill or injured patients may be kept alive long after there is any hope for their recovery. In a situation like that, what treatment options would be acceptable to you? How do you really feel about tube feeding or life support? Decisions like these are best made before there is a health crisis.

Some Terms to Know

Advance care planning means:

    - understanding possible future health choices
    - thinking about these choices in light of what is important to you
    - talking about your decisions with loved ones and your doctors
    - putting your plans in writing so they will be ready if they are needed

You may find that this is an ongoing process that takes more than one conversation. The goal of advanced care planning is for you to live well, in a way that is meaningful to you, for as long as you live.

Advance Directives

These are the legal documents that complete the process. To have your wishes for care toward the end of life followed, you should put your choices in writing by using the advance directives. These include the following forms:

    A health care power of attorney, which allows you to name a person you trust to make your health care choices if you cannot make them yourself.
    A living will, which tells others what medical treatments you want if you are dying.

    MOST, or Medical Orders for Scope of Treatment, is a new form approved by the NC Legislature in 2007. It is a physician's order that supplies more detail than a living will about the range of care for those who are already terminally ill with a limited life expectancy. It offers a patient to choose whether to accept or refuse life prolonging measures like, CPR, intubation, aritifical nutrition and hydration, dialysis, antibiotics and more. Must be completed by a physician, physician's assistant or nurse practitioner. Does not require notarization.

You can always change your mind after your future choices, even after you have developed a plan and written down your wishes. As long as you are able to make decisions, your plan may be changed.

Want More Information

If you are interested in learning more about advance care planning or to schedule a program for your church or civic group, please call Gaston Hospice at (704) 861-8405.

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Gaston Hospice Services

Gaston Hospice is a local, non-profit healthcare organization that cares for people who have a life-limiting illness that is no longer responding to curative treatment. Hospice care enables these patients to live at home as fully as possible. Hospice puts both patient and family at the center of care planning.

Our Services Include:

- Pain and symptom management
- Assistance with financial and legal issues from a medical social worker
- Emotional and spiritual support from licensed counselors and chaplains
- Certified nursing assistants to help with personal care
- Volunteers to help provide companionship, run errands, etc.
- Respite care when family caregivers need a break
- Medications, equipment and supplies
- Grief support for loved ones

We Provide Our Services:

- In the home
- In the Robin Johnson House
- In the long term care facility
- In the hospital

Gaston Hospice serves any resident of Gaston County and the surrounding area who has been diagnosed with a life expectancy of six months or less. Services are provided regardless of diagnosis or ability to pay.

More Information

To find out more about about Gaston Hospice, stop by our office (directions), contact us online, or by phone at: 704.861-8405

Mailing address:
Gaston Hospice
PO Box 3984
Gastonia NC 28054
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CaroMont Health 2525 Court Drive, PO Box 1747 Gastonia, NC 28053 | 704.834.2000