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Maximizing Healthcare Research: Best Practices in Using Research to Its Highest Potential – Healthcare

Getting Started: Questions to Ask YourselfOrganizations have begun investing heavily in market research once again. In fact, the American Marketing Association reported in September 2011 that marketing research firms were enjoying a much needed upsurge in revenues. This, after a dismal stretch when most companies were firmly ensconced in survival-versus-growth mode.In comparison, the healthcare industry has remained strong throughout the past several years. It successfully competes against every industry for consumers’ business, because more important than owning the latest tech gadget or luxury car is ongoing good health and wellness. Also, healthcare organizations are well-practiced in conducting patient satisfaction and utilization surveys, as well as community assessments.And yet, many organizations, including healthcare, are often negligent in taking insights gleaned from marketing research to the next level by interpreting their customers’ perspectives-daily routines, everyday concerns and top priorities, for instance. In fact, many often feel as though initiatives resulting from research efforts go largely unnoticed within the communities they serve. What might be the cause?Messaging: Whereas one group might be responsive to your current message, another group may not. In considering whether your words communicate what you want, begin with a look at your own expertise. For instance, MD Anderson, whose medical center is based in Houston, TX, is synonymous with cancer treatment worldwide. In fact, its mission is clearly stated to “eliminate cancer in Texas, the nation, and the world through outstanding programs that integrate patient care, research and prevention.” In evaluating your own messaging, begin with one simple question: What do you want people to say when they walk away from your facilities?Consumer Track: Consider the typical daily journey taken by consumers who know you, as well as those who don’t. In marketing speak, this is essential to understanding the steps in the “buying” process – pre, during and post – when consumers are most open to influence. In application to healthcare organizations, understanding the community-at-large adds another layer to this tracking process. Ask yourself: What does my community want?Media Relationships: Even armed with data from the most comprehensive studies, organizations will see little success in reaching their audience if their messages aren’t effectively communicated. It starts with messaging, but continues with the means to deliver these insights. A changing media landscape raises questions about the effectiveness of planned awareness campaigns. Also, the continued role of social and mobile media raises the number of avenues to reach and interact with consumers. Often that leads to a shot-in-the-dark approach, which gains little exposure. Now consider this: Where have I seen a return on investment?Brand Awareness: What Is It?At the birth of any brand, building positive awareness is top-of-mind. Yet throughout a brand’s life and evolution, awareness is a concept that should not be de-prioritized. In fact, awareness studies should be performed regularly to take a pulse and measure against already established benchmarks.Not only do you need to be sure people are aware of your existence, but you also need to know their perceptions of your organization, positive or negative. An Attitude and Awareness Study helps you keep track of how well people know you and what they think of you. It also allows you to modify your messages to accentuate the positives, address the negatives and build your brand over time.Perspective Shift: Who Are You Missing?Rather than spending the bulk of time evaluating the more reassuring group of respondents who both know and like you best, start with those with little or no awareness. It is with them that the greatest opportunity may exist. Begin by performing a gap analysis, which will further define who you are reaching versus who you are missing. In other words, a gap analysis measures the gap between actual and potential performance, thus allowing you to create a roadmap meant to illustrate how to close the gaps. Before moving on, ask yourself:
• Who are we missing?
• Why are we missing them?
• Are we not where they are?What are the issues facing those who know you best, and use you most?Perhaps the group who knows you best identified way-finding as their biggest challenge with your building or campus layout. They walk into your facilities and are immediately overwhelmed by the possibilities of where to go. With that insight, you can create an intuitive plan for consumers to successfully maneuver within your building. While way-finding was top-of-mind for a slight majority, what are the next five to ten challenges on their list? Have they been addressed? Return to your research to ensure you have considered all the implications identified before putting it back on the shelf.How do you find out who you are missing?Imagine that a community hospital has gone through this process and finds three potential targets they aren’t effectively reaching: Expectant mothers, men who are avid runners and women aged 50 to 55. Each has his/her own very distinct consumer track and healthcare needs. Perhaps one potential group fits within this hospital’s expertise more than others.As a result, this previously underserviced target group takes center stage in further qualitative research and future communications efforts. A series of three traditional, face-to-face focus groups per target is often an ideal approach, as it allows an organization to see, hear and observe a group they most wish to reach. While connecting via social networking is quickly moving beyond the basic survey template, it remains a social domain, first and foremost, and may not be the best option for new target research. As has been the case with social media generally, however, expect its further integration in research practices as technology and usage continue to evolve.Through a combination of proper messaging and media outreach, as well as testing and tracking return on investment, research efforts not only remain an integral part of planning, but also in positioning your business as a community leader.How do you develop a deeper understanding of what consumers want?Ask a lot of questions.
Ask yourself, your organization leaders, your staff, your loyal customers, your potential customers.Rethink what you do.
Equipped with insight, remain open to possibility, especially with those who are in the dark as to who you are.Align your strategies.
Research is meant to affect an organization from top to bottom – from the design of your facility to your communication tools.Act.
You have the means to transform your organization, community and potentially, your industry.

Healthcare Systems – Are They Comprehensive and Effective? – Healthcare

Providing quality and effective health care is everyone’s concern. This is true anywhere in the world, even in the United States. The government is constantly trying to initiate changes in the system that will ensure that health care is still provided comprehensively even with the onset of recession. The general public, on the other hand, is faced with worries about getting decent health care for themselves and their families. Employers are concerned with providing proper health care benefits to the employees and their dependents, while the medical practitioners are constantly looking for ways on how to be able to provide the best health care possible for their patients.When someone is admitted to a hospital or a medical institution, this can cause worry for his family. They will definitely worry about his medical condition. The financial situation also comes into play. The little but important details about settling the bills, especially if you are using insurance can also cause stress and confusion. Although the coverage of the insurance is usually explained when it is availed, there is a lot more to learn and understand when it comes down to choosing the correct hospital or doctor and to ensure that hospital expenses are kept to a minimum.The United States boasts of having one of the most advanced and comprehensive healthcare systems in the world. American citizens, in general, should be thankful for having sufficient healthcare plans, either through their personal funds or through their employers. This is applicable especially for those who are able to avail of private healthcare plans. However, we cannot say that this is true for everyone, especially those who are not eligible for government insurance. This may be due to one of the following reasons: the disease is not covered by the plan, or the family earns more than enough to qualify for government insurance, but earns less than how much is required for them to afford private insurance.There are also those who are not eligible for government insurance, but do not have health benefits from their employers. So, it is up to them to decide whether they can afford to set aside some money to pay for personal insurance or not. Since the government cannot afford to subsidize healthcare for everyone, or for every disease, the responsibility of providing comprehensive health care is left to the hands of big businesses, or in worst cases, on the hands of an individual who has to decide whether it is practical to get a medical insurance or not.With government provided healthcare being limited, and with medical insurance companies constantly increasing health insurance prices, the burden of providing quality and comprehensive health care for him and his family is left to the ordinary man. To date, there are still no concrete rules and regulations that can help ensure that every man in the country can have quality and comprehensive health care. Until this is addressed, there will still be people that will not be able to afford bringing in their loved ones for treatment and the issue of health care will continue to be a debatable topic.

Improving Efficiency in the Primary Healthcare Site Leads to Improved Income and Satisfaction – Healthcare

I believe that the best healthcare sites are run like the best businesses. Each person has the time to do a good job. Each has a chance to be heard and contribute to a quality service and product. Each has a decent income that he/she deserves. I believe that if these are present, then patient health and satisfaction will be optimal and providers will be happier.It seems that it is especially becoming harder to find these characteristics in the primary care physician’s office. A front-page article of the March 3, 2007 issue of the Wall Street Journal illustrated some of the results of the disappearance of these traits in the primary care office. Dr. Gordon Moore was describing how he was forced to see on average 30 patients a day for at most 15 minutes a patient. He went on to detail how this led to errors in prescriptions and ultimately to how unhappy he was. His solution was to start a solo, high-tech practice in which he was much happier and in which the patient health and satisfaction greatly improved.The article pointed out that the mean income of family care physicians has dropped 10% in the past eight years while specialists’ income has remained stable. The confluence of these trends has not only been a decline in patient and physician satisfaction but also a decline in the numbers of physicians entering into primary care. In the rest of the industrialized world about one-half of all new doctors become primary care physicians; in the U.S. only about one-third do (these trends are documented in surveys of the American Academy of Family Physicians). This trend directly impacts the cost of health care; other industrialized countries spend far less per patient and achieve the same results as the U.S.Perhaps this gloomy picture sounds like your site. Can anything be done? I believe so. One approach is to apply the tools of lean manufacturing. For instance, I read of one site where the physicians were told to significantly increase the number of patients they saw each day or else the business would lose money, as in Dr. Moore’s case above. The managers of the practice did not even think of looking at other problems in the office to see if savings could be found without increasing pressures on the physicians. In this same office patient records were scattered in three different places. A great savings could be achieved if the office centralized these records and more could be achieved if the records were digitized. I am sure that other examples of eliminating waste in effort, a key element of lean thinking, could be found in this office if management explored a bit further. For instance, if they decreased the number of billing errors by 50% or more, significant savings could be achieved. Time could be saved during physician exams if the location of equipment and supplies in the examining room were standardized and if supplies were constantly replenished. This is an example of a clean an organized workspace in the lean environment. My point is that many efficiencies could be found in a primary care office other than by pressuring physicians to speed things up.What is a good way to find such opportunities for improvement in the office workspace? You should definitely involve representatives from each area or specialty in the office-nurses, physicians, managers, coders, etc. You might want to try a “kaizen” event-a gathering of such representatives over a short period to brainstorm ideas for improvement and ways to implement and measure agreed upon changes. I wouldn’t worry that you might not know how to correctly conduct a “kaizen” event. Rather conduct a meeting that fits the personnel of your site and which results in good ideas and support from all your representatives. If you implement the suggested changes and measure outcomes such as satisfaction of patients and personnel, profit, and patient health I am sure that you will find all have improved.New models for primary care are emerging too. Besides the solo practice mentioned above, the March 13, 2007 edition of the Wall Street Journal detailed a model developed by Dr. Michael Kaplan of New York. He focuses on managing weight-loss for the obese, rather than having bariatric surgery. Patients pay for the service out of pocket. He estimates that a practice which devotes itself exclusively to this would earn an extra $100,000 to $300,000 each year. He goes on to state that a physician group could use his approach for select clients while still treating the normal population of clients and thus significantly increase income for the practice. Perhaps this model could also include tobacco cessation and make similar profits. If so, such practices could dramatically reduce factors which have significant impacts on patient health.I hope that I have convinced you that there are significant opportunities to improve the primary care practice without having negative consequences. Look for ways to cut inefficiencies without having providers rush through exams and experiment with new models. You will surely be rewarded in many ways.

Upcoming Healthcare IT Conferences in 2010 – Healthcare

Some of the Important healthcare IT conferences around the world scheduled to take place in 2010 are given below:1) Second Annual Multi-State Health IT Collaborative for E-Health Conference – to be held from February 8-9, 2010, at the Grand Hyatt Washington Hotel, Washington, DC. Join the conference to discuss about various aspects healthcare IT adoption and get uptodate information on Federal and State implementation of the Health IT provisions of the Recovery Act2) National Health Information Exchange (HIE) Summit – to be on Feb 4- 5, 2010 at the Wardman Park Hotel Washington, DC. The National Health Information Exchange Summit is designed to support national, state and local leaders in effectively navigating the challenges related to building health information exchange capacity across physician practices, hospitals, laboratories, pharmacies, health plans, to support care delivery and improvements in population health.3) Eighteenth National HIPAA Summit – scheduled from Feb 4- 5, 2010 at the Wardman Park Hotel Washington, DC. The HIPAA Summit will provide the most up-to-date information on the status and schedule for the regulations through presentations by the leading regulators from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Office for Civil Rights, and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.4) Health IT Summit For Government Leaders- will take place from February 3 – 4, 2010 at the Wardman Park Hotel, Washington, DC. The Health IT Summit for Government Leaders is designed for federal and state government leaders who want to learn about how to use information technology.5) Health Technology Africa Exhibition 2010- The Healthcare Technology Africa Exhibition scheduled to take place on 18, 19 and 20 February 2010 at Sandton Convention Centre, Sandton, South Africa.6) 2010 Annual HIMSS Conference and Exhibition- March 1-4, 2010 at the Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta. The HIMSS annual conference is one of the biggest event in the healthcare IT Industry. It is organized by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), a not-for-profit and non-governmental, international healthcare membership organisation. The conference offers 300plus educational sessions on the hottest topics in the health IT industry like meaningful use, HITECH, interoperability, IHE etc from the most eminent speakers. HIMSS Exhibition provides an opportunity for vendors and users to meet and interact.7) WoHIT 2010- World Of Health IT 2010 will be held in conjunction with the European Union’s annual High Level eHealth Conference on 15-18 March 2010 in Barcelona, Spain. The objective is to create the largest European high level platform for stakeholders sharing the common goal of advancing eHealth in Europe.8) HIMSS Asia Pac 2010 – In 2010, HIMSS Asia Pac will feature three distinct events held in – Beijing (China) and Daegu (South Korea). The events are organised by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), a not-for-profit and non-governmental, international healthcare membership organisation. All the three events provide a major events to update information and an opportunity to network with professionals from the health IT industry.The HIMSS AsiaPac ’10 Exposition will take place in Beijing, China, from the 26th to 28th of May, 2010. The HIMSS Asia’10 Health IT Congress will take place in Daegu, Korea, from the 26th to the 28th of October, 2010 and the HIMSS Asia’10 Health IT will be held from 28-28 oct in Daegu, Korea.

Considering a Career Change? Check Out the Top Jobs in Healthcare – Healthcare

As the nation’s economy begins to recover from its dramatic tailspin, industry prognosticators are forecasting sustained job growth within several choice sectors. Not surprisingly, the healthcare industry is at the forefront of this windfall. With the increasing demands of an aging population, the rise in chronic health conditions and advances in medical technology, the industry is growing rapidly. With over 13.5 million currently employed and an additionally three million new jobs to be added annually, the President’s Council of Economic Advisors report that the healthcare industry will be the largest source of employment through 2016. To add to the good news, salaries and job security are expected to rise with demand.Here is a list of top healthcare professions:Pharmacist: Average Annual Salary – $85,000. They’re instrumental in interpreting medical instructions, dispensing medication and providing other health services. Requires a Doctor of Pharmacy degree and accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE).Healthcare Administrator: Average Annual Salary – $73,000. They are the business and management backbone of healthcare and no institution is run effectively without one. Their responsibilities include overseeing personnel, adaptation of hospital’s policies and guidelines and supervising the delivery of health care. As the fundamentals of healthcare changes, they will be responsible for coordinating and implementing new systems. Requires Masters Degree as Medical or healthcare manager.Physician Assistant: Average Annual Salary – $70,000. More doctors’ offices are relying on these health professionals to assess conditions and deliver treatment and follow-up care for minor illnesses. Careers are expected to increase by over half in the next ten years. Requires completion of 2-year program.Physical Therapist: Average Annual Salary – $66,000. Physical therapists restore mobility and motor function, help patients recover from physically debilitating injury or pain and promote good overall health. Employment of physical therapists is expected to grow 27% through to 2016. Requires Masters Degree and state licensing.Registered Nurse: Average Annual Salary – $60,000. The severe shortage of nurses in the US and the increase of a wide array of health issues guarantee the continued growth and demand of this profession for the foreseeable future. Jobs open in a variety of fields such as oncology, neurosurgery and general practice. Advanced degrees, teaching or corporate position are available. Requires nursing diploma, BSN or ADN degree; state license and certification for specialty.MRI Technician/Sonographer: Average Annual Salary – $57,000. One of the most lucrative, in-demand fields, sonographers enjoy job stability and flexibility in a variety of health settings including hospitals, laboratories, and physician’s offices.Dental Hygienist: Average Annual Salary – $56,000. Essential to the field of dentistry, they are responsible for the care and maintenance of patients’ oral health and consequently are in high demand. Requires an Associate degree, at minimum and state licensing.Dietician/Nutritionist: Range – $43,000 – $100,000. With the increased need to develop and maintain healthy eating and lifestyle habits, this has become of the fastest growing careers in healthcare. Jobs are available in hospitals, schools, nursing homes and in private companies and households. Requires a Bachelors or Masters Degree in dietetics, foods and nutrition, food service systems management, or other related area and state certifications and license.

Non-Insurance Discount Benefits Provide Consumers With Healthcare Alternatives – Healthcare

Traditional health insurance rates have skyrocketed putting many Americans at risk because they simply can not afford the monthly premiums. While it is still advisable to have a health insurance policy instead of a discount benefits plan – if you do not have the money something is better then nothing.There are many discount benefits plans that cover dental, vision, prescription and even chiropractic care. The prices for these plans, that do not include any medical healthcare benefits, are usually very affordable. Insurance companies usually do not take a liking to these type of businesses because they undercut their monthly premiums. All is fair in love and war – or so they say.What Do Discount Benefit Plans Include?Discount benefit plans are as wide and varied as traditional health insurance plans. Some carry only dental care, vision care, chiropractic care and/or prescription drug discounts without medical benefits. Many have plans that include medical health benefits and any combination of the above. Non-insurance discount benefits sometime seem to good to be true for the price.Health Insurance Companiesoften point out that the discount plans do not cover everything. That is true. But — neither do all the regular health insurance plans and they are much, much more expensive. It is imperative that you thoroughly study what any benefit plan includes, whether insurance or non-insurance. Discount benefit plans usually have very low deductibles or no deductibles at all. Insurance health policies usually have high deductibles to keep the monthly premiums lower than they would be. But monthly premiums are still escalating out of control.Healthcare AlternativesDiscount healthcare alternatives that are not insurance often require you to pay for health services at the time you receive them but at a reduced fee. Some of these reduces fees are substantial. Providers have agreed to lower fees for a few very good reasonsProviders get a customer base from the discount benefits group
Providers sometime get reduced prices on medical supplies from the discount group
Providers often get their money upfront without having to wait to get paid from an insurance companyAnother advantage to discount health plans is they normally have a very low registration fee. This means you can get started without having to spend too much money. Also, non-insurance health plans rarely require you to have a health exam before your accepted.Non-insurance discount healthcare plans including medical healthcare are often under $200.00 per month and can be found for under $100.00 per month. The average health insurance plan is over $800.00 per month. Do the math. But while you do the math make sure the benefit plan you choose will meet your needs.

How Healthcare Providers Can Benefit From Utilizing a Specialized Lender – Healthcare

Third-party medical receivables comprise the largest liquid asset of healthcare providers. The receivables are often pledged as collateral to receive much needed working capital. Although the ultimate receipt of the payments from health insurance companies and government programs are likely, traditional lenders often limit the amount of funding. It isn’t because they don’t want to grant loans. It’s because they don’t understand the collateral.Medical billing can be very complicated and if not done correctly, can result in delays in payments or even no payment at all. Because of this, banks may grant a line of credit based on the medical receivables, but will be limited in nature. Typical bank lines may provide the medical professional enough working capital if the practice experiences moderate growth. But if the physician group (or any other type of healthcare provider) is in a fast-growth mode, they will need a constant stream of new working capital to pay for additional staffing, supplies, and even facilities. Bank lines of credit that are collateralized by medical receivables seldom fill this type of need. That is where a specialized medical factoring company comes in.How a Medical Receivables Factoring relationship is formedIn a commercial factoring relationship with a soft drink distributor, for example, it’s fairly clear cut. The distributor receives an order from a grocery store. They ship the order which is then received and accepted by the grocery store. An invoice is generated for the product, which is then submitted to the factoring company for an advance. One of the key components of lessening a factor’s risk is verification that the goods are accepted in good order and that the customer agrees with the amount billed. In this situation, verification is easy. With medical invoice factoring, the due diligence process is more extensive.When a provider initially contacts a factoring company representative, they are asked to fill out a fairly simple application and supply some basic information such as a receivables aging schedule and a breakdown of the receivables by payer. This helps the finance company to determine if the provider is a good fit for their services. If so, a letter of intent (LOI) is generated and submitted to the client. The LOI outlines the proposed terms of the agreement, such as the advance rate and fees to be charged. If the client finds the terms to be reasonable and wants to move forward, the LOI is signed and a check for due diligence charges is issued to the factoring company.The charge for due diligence is not cheap. Depending on the factoring company, the minimum cost for a small practice is around $5,000. For a larger group or a hospital, the charge will be much higher. At this point in the process, many providers decide to not move forward. This is unfortunate because the audit conducted by the factor often discloses billing irregularities and coding errors that oftentimes pays for itself. The audit is necessary in order for the finance company to understand the billing system of the client and to determine the net collectible amount the customer is likely to receive from insurance companies, Medicare, and other third parties. The net collectible amount is an average percentage that is the basis of the advances the client will receive from their invoice submissions.Once the audit is completed, a formal contract is drawn up which specifies the exact terms of factoring arrangement. Unless there are serious collection problems, further auditing is unnecessary and the company submits their billings weekly or even daily for advances. The client is typically given a cash advance from 75% to 85% of the anticipated net collectible amount of the invoices submitted. With this type of financing, the amount of working capital received by the provider is limited only by their pool of receivables.Medical accounts receivable financing is an excellent means of receiving much needed working capital for those healthcare providers who are either growing at a rapid rate or experiencing cash flow difficulties for other reasons.

How to Lower Our Healthcare Costs – Healthcare

To control our healthcare costs, we first must understand the healthcare industry. The Healthcare Industry appears to be controlled by the pharmaceutical companies. These companies work to resolve SYMPTOMS and not CAUSES because it is a more profitable venture. Who contributes to the Drug Company Get Rich Fund? We do! Recently in the news it was reported that less antibiotics would be produced because it is not profitable to produce medication that is not taken repetitively on a daily basis as opposed to cholesterol medication. To aid our country’s healthcare reform costs, I recommend that the government establish research centers that work on some of the more expensive sicknesses and diseases like obesity, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, cancer, etc. to start.By establishing research centers, these centers would employ many people from various professions and backgrounds, i.e. secretaries, accountants, legal, operations, IT, research scientists, doctors, etc. This plan would put construction people to work for buildings or to renovate current buildings to create these centers. The commencement, start-up costs would be substantial but would decrease over time when discoveries, cures are made. If we can support banks and other institutions paying their Top Executives big bonuses for leading them down the path to financial ruin, bankruptcy, we should have available funds to support research studies to find cures for our diseases and put more people to work. I would prefer to cure innocent people then to pay big bucks to crooks.Just think about the drug industry, I don’t know about you, but I find it difficult to believe that there is not a cure for the common cold in all these years. But why should there be? Drug companies reap in the revenue every time we catch a cold with their congestion medications, fever medications, headache medications, sore throat medications and ear ache medications. The common cold itself represents at least five multi-mega revenue streams for these drug companies. Does it make sense that they can cure symptoms but not the virus? I heard that there have been cures for cancer, HIV and other diseases for years but no one wants to give up the money. If we can put a man on the Moon, a spacecraft on Mars, have people live in space, communicate around the world in a matter of seconds or minutes, why don’t we have cures for our major diseases? Follow the money and you will understand why it is not happening.Once cures are found for diseases, the government would lower its medical expenses paid for programs like Medicare, Medicaid, prescription medications, veteran’s medical care and prescriptions and everything else that is included in treating symptoms. If medical costs decrease, then so would the insurance premiums. People would have more money to spend on disposable goods and other items to ignite our economy. With lowering our healthcare expenses, more time, effort and money could be devoted to creating a healthier, more abundant food supply, repairing our infrastructure, a cleaner environment, etc.Thank you, Kathryn Alexander.

The Best Time To Make A Living Will and Healthcare Power of Attorney – Healthcare

A Living Will and Healthcare Power are the most important estate planning documents that you can make. This is for the simple fact that they affect you and have huge ramifications for you while you are still alive. The question that matters most is when is it the best time to make sure that these documents are in place.The simple answer is that the best time to make a Living Will and Healthcare Power of Attorney is before you need them. After you need them it is too late to go back and make them or change the fact that you did not make preparations. Healthcare documents are meant to be in place to make sure your wishes for medical treatment or lack of medical treatment are honored when you can no longer speak for yourself. You are considered to be no longer able to speak for yourself when you become incapacitated through disability such as a coma or stroke. Advance directives also take the stress and potential difficult decisions out of the hands of family members that may be grieving or unable to think rationally. Leaving a family member with a difficult choice of whether to keep you alive or pull the plug is never something that you should do. It is better to take this decision out of a family member’s hands and make sure that your healthcare wishes are clearly stated in writing.The best way to do this is to plan ahead and make sure your documents are in place before you need them.This will be before you are in a hospital or nursing home and when you have a clear head and enough time to make an informed decision. If you are already in a hospital or nursing home you might be under stress or pressure to make a decision. If you are already admitted in a hospital or nursing home then you may still make a Healthcare Power of Attorney without additional steps, but to complete a Living Will in some states you will need someone from the state Ombudsman’s office present. This additional step may take more time and interfere with your wishes. While nobody wants to think about the possibility of their own mortality or possible incapacity, it is a reality that adults that have people that care for them and depend on them must face. Having advance directives in place can take worry from your mind now and prevent worry and stress from loved ones later on.