Advanced directives, made to ensure a person’s wishes are carried out should the person be unable to communicate them to a doctor, can sound scary. But thinking of the future, especially future medical events, is something that we should all do.
Patients may be unable to communicate their wishes when it comes to decisions about their medical care, or struggle to evaluate their options. In these situations, surrogate decision-makers, often family members or friends, are relied upon to make choices on behalf of patients. We explore ways to help doctors talk to families about all of their options of care, and how to make sure their choices are clearly communicated before there’s an emergency situation, as well as developing monitoring tools and decision aids for patients and their caregivers to help patients make the best choices for their overall health and well-being.