Looking Ahead’s mission lies at the core of everything we do.
To teach and promote advance care planning (ACP) and to participate at the one-on-one level as a means to enhance personal healthcare and lifecare decisions before the need arises.
As part of that mission, Looking Ahead works to take its services into the community to every individual across the socio-economic spectrum. Our nonprofit status enables us to seek and receive funding from a wide variety of sources. We are especially grateful to those individuals and private funding groups who have chosen to support our efforts to put our outreach and one-on-one advance care planning facilitation within reach of all, including especially those who would not otherwise be able to afford them.
Guided by that mission, Looking Ahead has established three services that it offers to individuals and the community:
- Face-to-face, private personal advance care planning
- Community education that explains advance care planning, why it is needed and how It works
- Professional outreach that expands the knowledge of advance care planning among medical professionals at all levels
Should you wish to contribute to Looking Ahead, a 501c3 community service organization, please visit our Donations page to learn more.
Looking Ahead’s personalized advance care planning process starts with a private face-to-face conversation led by one of our trained and certified advance care planning specialists – all of whom have backgrounds in health care. With the gentle, respectful and knowledgeable guidance of your specialist, you will
- Candidly and confidentially reflect on your beliefs, fears, goals, future health expectations and personal concerns
- Understand your treatment options
- Make choices about future healthcare treatments and procedures
- Designate a healthcare agent – an appropriate and trusted friend or family member – to make medical decisions on your behalf and to ensure that your wishes for future care and treatment are fulfilled should you be unable to communicate for yourself
- Complete an Advance Directive that records in writing your decisions about future health care (“living will” or “advance care plan”) so your wishes can be shared with your family and your medical professionals and includes a Durable Healthcare Power of Attorney that legally empowers your healthcare agent
- Put these documents into the hands of your healthcare agent, medical professionals and loved ones so they know in advance what your wishes are for future treatment and care
- Advance care planning is, by definition, a deliberate act of planning before a crisis for circumstances that are often an inevitable part of growing older as well as for situations that may arise in the case of a terminal illness or a sudden, unexpected catastrophic medical event.
- Advance care planning is a gift you give your family and healthcare agent, relieving them of much of the tremendous burden of critical decision-making at time of crisis.
- Your advance care plan is personalized to your individual needs and wishes by you and your ACP specialist.
- You can easily alter your advance directive at any time – and in fact, you should review it regularly and whenever your circumstances change.
- Looking Ahead’s advance care planning facilitators explain medical terminology, treatment choices and procedures but do not promote or advise on particular treatments.
Looking Ahead strives to deliver advance care planning services—community outreach education as well as hands-on, face-to-face “conversations” to develop individual advance care plans—to all members of our community, regardless of anyone’s ability to pay or other potential limiting factors.
Our goal is for every person to journey toward the end of life comforted by the assurance that your healthcare wishes will be carried out, giving you and your loved ones the gift of time together with the peace of mind you all deserve.
Your Looking Ahead Advance Care Planning guided conversation takes place in the comfort of your home or another location that is convenient for you. It includes a 1–1½-hour confidential guided conversation with an ACP specialist who will assist you to complete your Advance Directive (advance care plan and Durable Health Care Power of Attorney) and help you put it into the hands of your doctor and file it with your healthcare facility.
Your Looking Ahead Advance Care Planning Sharing Your Wishes gift packet includes your completed Advance Directive as well as a set of guidelines for updating your documents and communicating your choices with medical professionals and your family. There is room for other important documents, along with a checklist, notes and key contacts. It is designed to accommodate updates and changes as your circumstances evolve.
Looking Ahead’s My Wishes Workshop™ heralds a new approach to advance care planning.
We saw that many participants are reluctant to follow through on completing an advance directive—even though you have recognized the need and responded enthusiastically when you attended our outreach presentation.
And so, Looking Ahead developed its two-part My Wishes Workshop to capture your interest at its most fervent and translate it into action and results. And our approach has been hugely successful.
My Wishes Workshop features a general presentation on advance care planning followed by a small-group workshop during which we discuss your wishes in detail and complete your advance directive while we’re together. Looking Ahead staff notarize the advance directives during the workshop and you each leave with a copy to share with your designated healthcare agent and loved ones.
A key feature of each My Wishes Workshop: We send a copy of your advance directive to your hospital and primary care physician, saving your the effort and ensuring that this step is not neglected.
Initially we spaced the presentation and workshop about a week apart to allow participants time to think about the issues and possibly talk to family or friends, but not so much time that the matter can slip in importance. We’ve also begun using this model as a one-day program, with the presentation and small-group workshop separated by a break for refreshments.
Participants have been satisfied by this approach and are pleased to be among their neighbors and friends during the workshop session. In addition, Respecting Choices®, the program developed by Gundersen Health in La Crosse, WI, which has certified all Looking Ahead staff, has invited us to present our My Wishes Workshop concept at its 2nd Annual Conference in Milwaukee this September.
To bring a My Wishes Workshop to your residential community, faith group or other gathering, contact Looking Ahead by email or phone at 215.544.9580.
Illness and dying, caregiving and grief are fundamentally personal, not medical, issues. Fit the care to the individual’s priorities.
Ira Byock, MD, author of Dying Well
Source: Public presentation, 22 May 2014, Doylestown PA
Looking Ahead Advance Care Planning offers healthcare professionals another way to ease suffering and anguish for patients and their families by helping them achieve understanding, clarity and acceptance in the course of a chronic illness, sudden catastrophic condition or age-related circumstances.
By making healthcare decisions now for expected future needs, patients find they have the luxury to weigh options, probable outcomes, issues and concerns against their personal priorities and wishes – and to communicate their goals of care clearly to their families and their healthcare professionals through advance care directives.
In the midst of suffering or crisis, or when patients lack the ability to communicate, advance care directives and durable healthcare powers of attorney become important gifts not only to those who must make choices on their loved one’s behalf, but also to you, the healthcare professionals whose responsibility it is to provide the best care possible in each individual case.
Looking Ahead’s Services for Healthcare Professionals
EDUCATING healthcare professionals on advance care planning
PARTNERING with you to provide Respecting Choices® ACP to your patients
TRAINING you and your personnel for certification in Respecting Choices® advance care planning