You Have the Right to Decide: Expressing Your Health Care Wishes

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On April 26, 2012, Posted by , In Caregivers,Home Care, By ,,, , With Comments Off on You Have the Right to Decide: Expressing Your Health Care Wishes

Advances in medical technology now enable individuals to survive illnesses and injuries that previously would have been fatal. These advances may be a blessing for many, but they raise questions about the quality of life as it is prolonged.

Health care decision making can be stressful to discuss. Most people don’t like to think about increasing dependency, not being healthy, or not being capable of making their own decisions. Many individuals feel that clarifying and discussing their preferences and wishes about health care is important but put it off to do later. It’s also easy to think that ‘it won’t happen to me.’ Health care decision situations can lead to conflict among family members, feelings of guilt or abandonment, and feeling burdened by not knowing what the person would have really wanted.

Competent adults can execute several documents that can provide information and assistance to your loved ones and health care providers if you are unable to make health care decisions for yourself.  These documents include durable medical powers of attorney, do not resuscitate orders, and living wills.

The Medical Power of Attorney allows you to designate a person to make health care decisions for you if you are unable to make these decisions for yourself. This person is called your Health Care Agent. A do not resuscitate order (DNR) allows patients to refuse specific life-saving treatments if the heart stops beating or breathing stops. Finally, a living will tells health care providers whether you want life sustaining procedures withheld or withdrawn if you have a terminal or irreversible condition. The Directive does not become effective until your doctor examines you and states in writing that you have a terminal or irreversible condition, which is fatal without life-sustaining treatment (such as medication, mechanical breathing, or artificial feeding and water). Comfort care and pain management will still be provided once a Directive is in effect.

Your chosen agent has no authority to act and make decisions until your physician certifies in writing, and files in your medical record, that you lack the capacity to make your own health care decisions. Once this happens, you can still object to any decision made by your health care agent. Your physician and health care agent must make reasonable efforts to inform you about decisions that have been made. If you object, your agent’s decisions will not be followed.

Source:  Fcs.tamu.edu

Contact Pure Home Care Services at (586) 293-2457 today!  If you live in Bloomfield Hills or the surrounding area, we can help you care for your loved ones.

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