Making sure your end-of-life wishes are honored
Do your family, friends and doctors know what medical care you want – and don’t want – to prolong your life if you’re unable to speak for yourself?
Research shows that 90 percent of Americans say talking with loved ones about end-of-life care is important, but only 27 percent have done so. Even fewer have put their wishes in writing.
"Advance directives" or "advance care plans" are terms used for written instructions a person creates to express their wishes regarding medical treatment.
The directives often contain signed, witnessed and legally binding documents, including:
- Living Will – instructs a physician as to what medical interventions you want or don't want if you have a terminal condition and are unable to speak for yourself.
- Medical Power of Attorney – assigns an agent to make healthcare decisions for you if you’re not able.
Social workers or other staff members from Hospice of the Panhandle are available to help you and your loved ones create advance directives for your end-of-life care.
Writing down your advance directives is not only important for your benefit, it’s a tremendous gift to your family. These discussions and decisions can be difficult, but they are even harder when a physician has to ask your family member to make decisions if you are unable to participate. Your family is left with the burden of trying to figure out what type of care and interventions you want, often worrying they are making the wrong decisions.
For more information or assistance in creating an advance directive, call 304.264.0406.