Advance Directives are documents that clearly state your preferences for the health care you wish to receive, or not receive. They also give someone of your choosing the authority to make decisions on your behalf if you are unable to communicate your preferences on your own when decisions must be made. South Metro Fire Rescue is committed to honoring your health care choices, but we cannot know them without these documents readily available for our first responders.
Communicating the existence of Advance Directives is just as important as filling one out, but a step often missed. * DO NOT wait until an emergency to think about and discuss your health care priorities *
Here are three main steps to help you navigate the process:
1. Think carefully about the type of end-of-life care you want and who you would like to carry out your wishes.
2. Discuss your preferences with those who are important to you and will honor your choices, including your healthcare provider.
3. Document your wishes and provide copies to anyone who needs them.
COLORADO ADVANCE DIRECTIVES provides information on Medical Durable Power of Attorney, Living Will, CPR Directives, and other important documents you will potentially want as part of your Advance Directives.
Colorado's MOST form (Medical Orders for Scope of Treatment) outlines medical interventions the patient requests or refuses if something happens and they are unable to verbalize their preferences in that moment. First responders typically encounter this situation in the event of a cardiac arrest - A patient is not breathing and has no heartbeat.
First responders are required to attempt resuscitation in virtually all patients unless they have been instructed by the patient not to do so.
What is CPR?
According to the CDC, more than 356,000 people have an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in the United States every year, and older adults have a higher risk for cardiac arrest. CPR – or Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation – is an emergency lifesaving procedure performed when the heart stops beating.
Immediate CPR can double or triple the chances of survival after cardiac arrest, but people who survive CPR can also have:
- Brain injury
- Injury to internal organs
- Psychological distress, like anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and depression
The October 2023 National Council on Aging blog post, Advance Directives: What Are They and When Should You Create One? highlights the importance of making decisions based on your unique factors:
"Depending on your age and overall health, you absolutely may want your medical team to provide it if your heart stops. On the other hand, CPR can be a particularly damaging intervention for people with age- or illness-related frailty."
Talk to your physician about your priorities while you are healthy so they can help you make the right decisions regarding your end-of-life care. South Metro wants to encourage our community to make educated decisions about their medical preferences so we can be confident that our care is exactly what the patient would have wanted. CDC Cardiac Arrest Statistics
Talk to your physician about your priorities while you are healthy so they can help you make the right decisions regarding your end-of-life care.
File of Life Magnets
This file, when kept updated, is a priceless resource for first responders should they respond to an emergency in your home. This information aids them in their medical assessment and treatment, and can even be brought to the hospital for seamless continued care.
Keep this FILE OF LIFE magnet on your refrigerator or on your main bathroom mirror/medicine cabinet if you prefer.
To order File of Life Magnets through South Metro, use the link below.
988 - We are here to help.
988 is Colorado’s mental health and substance use help line that offers free, confidential support 24/7 through call-, text-, or chat-based support. People can connect with a trained 988 care specialist to get support when they are experiencing emotional distress or struggling with mental, behavioral health, or substance use challenges. People can call for themselves or for a person they are concerned about.
How much, or how little, people share when they contact 988 is entirely up to them.
Once connected, the 988 care specialist will:
1. Listen to what the person is going through and how it is affecting them.
2. Provide the person with personalized and confidential support.
3. Ask the person if they can connect them with additional resources or support in their community.
For more information, follow this link to the
Colorado's Behavioral Health Administration
Help Us Help You.
Communicate your medical priorities in the midst of a medical emergency by having the hard conversations, filling out the required paperwork, and making sure it is readily available for first responders.