Have you thought about your end of life care? Granted, it is not an easy thing to think about, but it is very important. When it comes to creating an “advance directive” for your healthcare planning, there is never the right time because it is the same for everybody. The time should be now. Before it is too late.
Addressing your health care planning means you are preparing for a medical crisis which may leave you unable to communicate the preferences and wishes you have for your end-of-life care. This will involve for you to learn about the decisions you may need to make and then making those decisions now. Then you will have to put those decisions into a legal document which is your advance directive.
There are two types of legal documents that can outline your advance health care directives:
A living will is a set of instructions that express your end-of-life medical care and treatment as you want it. Some of the possible factors you may want to address in your living will could be:
- Resuscitation – Deciding on if and when you should be resuscitated if your heart stops.
- Machines to help you breath – When and for how long you would like to have the aid of a machine that has taken over your breathing.
- Tube feeding and dialysis – How long you would want to receive these kinds of treatments.
- Comfort from pain – This can range from what medications you receive, spending your last moments at home or avoiding invasive tests and treatments.
- Organ, tissue or body donation – You can request to donate any of your organs or tissue and even request your body to be used for scientific study.
Medical power of attorney
This can also be referred to as a durable power of attorney for health care. This is a legally binding document that will give authority to a “health agent” who will make decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. The agent who fills this role is usually a spouse or a close family member.
When you do not have an advance directive in place for your end-of-life healthcare, you are risking that your wishes may be made by someone with contradictory ideas as you. Your wishes may even be ignored. Since tomorrow is not guaranteed to any of us, the right time to think about your health care directive should be today.