As patients, we should receive the highest quality of health care throughout our lives, and the key to ensuring that we receive that quality care is to document our personal goals of care and treatment preferences through advance care planning.
Advance care planning helps design a treatment plan as we move through life so that the health care professionals who treat us can match the care we receive to the care we want. Studies have shown that patients who discuss and plan for their goals of care get better, patient-centered care in the place they want it, whether it's at home, a hospital or a nursing home.
In 2010, Louisiana lawmakers approved the LaPOST document as a mechanism to ensure that we receive the care we want in the setting we prefer when we are diagnosed with a serious, advanced illness. LaPOST translates our end-of-life wishes and goals of care into a physician's order. This physician's order then transfers with us across the health care system. This ensures clear communication of our wishes among all health care professionals.