By Julie Sayre, MA, LSW, LMFT
Social Work Manager
As a social worker for Hospice of the Panhandle, I help our patients complete advance directives so that we can honor their end-of-life medical wishes. Many of our patients have not thought about what they would want for their end-of-life care before having these conversations with our staff. An advance directive is a document such as a Medical Power of Attorney or Living Will. These documents allow you to spell out who you would want to make medical decisions if you were not able to make them yourself and what kind of medical decisions you would want them to make.
I worked at Hospice of the Panhandle for 2½ years helping others complete their advance directives before I “got around” to completing my own. Completing advance directives is something people often put on their list of things they should do but never “get around” to doing it. I, just like anyone, was guilty of that. I thought I would just “get around” to it one day. I am young, healthy and had no immediate need to complete one. I went to the doctor for a visit one day and they said I needed to have surgery within a week. All of a sudden, I needed to “get around” to it now. It wasn’t until I was needing to have surgery that I made the decision to complete my Medical Power of Attorney and Living Will.