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Grane Hospice Care Blog

Is it too early to start talking about Advanced Directives?

By Grane Hospice Care Staff

Talking about Advanced Directives is often a very uncomfortable subject.  For many people, thinking about death and talking about death causes fear and anxiety.  But having the conversation and documenting your final wishes is a gift you give your loved ones.  It is an opportunity for your voice to be heard when you are no longer able to verbalize your own choices.

 

Having been a part of many, many difficult conversations during my years as an ICU Nurse, I am able to say that your family will rest easier knowing that you have made choices about what you do and do not want to have done if difficult decisions need to be made.  No one wants the end of their life to be in an ICU on a ventilator, and most do not want their lives prolonged with futile medical treatments. 

 

You may consider appointing a person who would speak for you when you are no longer able.  That person would be your Medical Power of Attorney.  This person should be able to know how you would answer if you were not able to do so. 

 

What things are asked in an Advanced Directive?

 

  • Is there someone you would like to name as the primary decision maker for your medical decisions if you are unable to make them yourself? This person is your Medical Power of Attorney and does not have to be the person who would oversee your financial affairs.
  • If you need to have machines to keep you alive such as a ventilator (breathing machine) or dialysis (kidney machine) is that something you would want?
  • Do not resuscitate orders (no CPR and/or no ventilator)
  • Would you want artificial hydration such as a feeding tube or IV fluids if you were not able to eat or drink any longer?
  • Organ Donation
  • Under what circumstances would you want your end-of-life wishes deployed?
 

These are just a few of the subjects that could be included in your Advanced Directive.  It is important to have a clear understanding of what each and every item means as you are making considering your choices.  Ask questions. Do research.  Talk to heath care professionals, a social worker, or even your clergy to help clarify your concerns.  Consider what kind of quality of life as opposed to day of life you would be satisfied with at the end of your journey.  Which is more important to you?

 

There are many references available with more information to assist in making your best decisions.  I would encourage you to take a look at them and talk, Really Talk, to your family and loved ones about your wishes.  The decisions they may have to make one day should allow them to be confident that they are carrying out your final wishes as you would want them done.

 

American Cancer Society:  https://www.cancer.org/treatment/finding-and-paying-for-treatment/understanding-financial-and-legal-matters/advance-directives/types-of-advance-health-care-directives.html

 

National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization:  https://www.caringinfo.org/planning/advance-directives/

 

POLST:  https://polst.org/

 

Five Wishes:  https://fivewishes.org/

 

Aging With Dignity:  https://agingwithdignity.org/

 

Call Grane Hospice Care if you wish to have any Advanced Directives questions answered… 1-800-379-0129

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