Sentara Martha Jefferson HealthWise: Advance Care Planning

By  | 

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Talking about decisions that need to be made in times of stress and crisis can be scary and uncomfortable.

However, Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital makes an effort to ease those feelings by offering resources that can take you through that conversation step by step.

"What kind of living environment is important to you? Is it important for you to be independent and self-sufficient in your life," asked Chaplain Alex McGee.

McGee listed these as examples of the kind of questions you can discuss with your loved ones to understand their values and wishes, which can help get the conversation started.

Taking the time to talk about who you want making decisions on your behalf and how those decisions are made is important to do at any stage of your life after turning 18 years old.

McGee says it is also important to update these decisions as life circumstances change.

"Someone in perfectly good health could have an accident one day, and then be on life support and their loved ones may not know what their wishes were," McGee said.

If these wishes were not discussed beforehand, it can be difficult to make those decisions in a time of crisis, often times because your brain isn't thinking straight.

"When the family says, 'yes we did talk about it,' I see that they have comfort and peace and ease," McGee said.

Sentara Martha Jefferson offers a booklet that provides the legal document, guides you through conversations before filling out your plan and what to keep in mind after that process.

"The advanced care planning is more than a document, it is about the mutual understanding that people then have," McGee said.

Sentara Martha Jefferson will be offering classes for advance directives on May 2 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m and on May 23 from 5 p.m to 6 p.m.

Pre-registration is required for these classes, and you can do so emailing

You can also download the advance directives booklet by checking the Related Links box.

The comments sections of are designed for thoughtful, intelligent conversation and debate. We want to hear from our viewers, but we only ask that you use your best judgment. tracks IP addresses. Repeat violators may be banned from posting comments.
View Comment Guidelines
powered by Disqus