A mother’s known wishes set the tone for her care 20 years later
By: Stephanie Gonyea
making difficult health care decisions for her late husband in the 1990s, Lynette West wanted to make sure her wishes would be known and carried out if she had a serious health issue and wasn’t able to communicate for herself. Knowing this,
her daughter, Lindsey West, corporate director, Community Health and Outreach, helped her mom start the process of advance care planning.
“I showed her the advance directive form we had at work and together, we discussed and filled it out,” Lindsey said. “She then asked me
if I’d be her patient advocate, to be her voice and lead the way for our family.”
Lindsey agreed, the information was shared with family members and the paperwork was set. Years later, Lynette’s health status changed. Lindsey received a phone call from her mom that she couldn’t breathe. An ambulance was called, and Lynette
was rushed to a local emergency center.
When they got to the hospital, Lynette was in critical condition. Knowing her mom’s wishes, Lindsey asked to speak with the Palliative Care team who reviewed the advance directive they brought to make sure the wishes Lynette expressed 20 years ago
Having an advance directive set the tone for her care, engaging both Lynette and Lindsey with the entire team.
“My mom felt reassured knowing the care team understood her wishes, and I felt heard as her daughter and advocate,” Lindsey said. “It also helped the care team focus on my mom’s goals for discharge and home care.”
For the final 11 months of Lynette’s life, she chose home hospice care.
“She had a wonderful team coordinating her care as they got to know her as a person. They treated her with respect, honored her wishes to preserve her dignity and compassionately coordinated her care with me and my siblings,” Lindsey said.
“Everyone being on the same page allowed us to make informed decisions and spend quality time supporting my mom.”
A day to start the conversation about health care decisions
On Tuesday, April 16, join Americans from across the country in making future health care decisions known to family, friends and providers.