Did you ever think of the word prepare? It begins with “pre” for a reason. First steps are required: wet your hands before you wash, sharpen a pencil before you write, turn on your phone before sending a message, train in your field of work before performing a specialized task. These are logical stages to move to action.

Much of preparation is seamless to the point that we don’t even think we are preparing for anything. Not so in healthcare! What I see is a string of disasters based on complete lack of planning. The truth is, preparation is key to maintaining control. Even in a scenario as out control as a car crash or a stroke, there is advance planning that can be done to divert disaster. For without a broad safety net, the opportunity for control flies out the window when life takes a sharp turn.

Glance through this short list of preparation steps needed to avert disaster:

  • Legally name your healthcare power of attorney / surrogate decision maker.
  • Complete your Directive to Physician / Living Will.
  • Inform your responsible parties of their future roles.
  • Communicate your wishes for care to your advocate so they will be able to apply your wishes rather than struggling to decide in a painful vacuum.
  • Legally name your financial power of attorney.
  • Enable your trusted individual to pay your bills for an interim time. Have them set up to access your funds for payments.
  • Legally name who you would want to assume responsibility for your dependent children or pets in your incapacity.
  • Compile a list of people important to your life and their roles.

This list is not comprehensive but it’s a good start.

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