Make Your Wishes Known
Felicia Juntunen, ECM Care Manager
Felicia Juntunen, Elder Care Management Care Manager, has a wealth of knowledge on issues many seniors and our clients face everyday. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work and a Master’s in Gerontology from California State University, Sacramento. She first served as a student intern with ECM and then joined the care management team full-time in 2013. Felicia is a member of the Aging Life Care Association, holds an RCFE license, and has volunteered as a caregiver support group facilitator for the Alzheimer’s Association of Northern California. As a care manager, she enjoys listening to the life stories of clients and identifying their strengths.
None of us like to think about circumstances that may render us unable to make medical decisions for ourselves, nor do we necessarily enjoy talking about end of life wishes with our loved ones. However, advance planning is the best way to ensure your wishes are honored and alleviates others from worry about acting on your behalf. An Advance Health Care Directive (AHCD) is a statement shared with family and physicians that details the medical treatment a person desires if they are no longer able to speak for themselves, and which also designates an appointed spokesperson. In our care management practice, we regularly ask new clients if they have an AHCD and if they and their designated spokesperson know its location, because studies have shown that even when a patient has an AHCD it may not be accessible when needed. The Physician Order for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST) is an AHCD that has been developed to help correct this dilemma. A POLST does not replace an AHCD but compliments it by turning it into a medical order that is honored throughout the medical system. From home to hospital to skilled care and back again, this easily recognizable bright pink form is a portable document that transfers with the patient. Use of the POLST is not age specific but is generally recommended for those with a chronic progressive illness or serious health conditions. The team at Elder Care Management can provide more information about the POLST and other AHCD options to assist in making your wishes known.