Benefits of End-of-Life Planning

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On July 23, 2012, Posted by , In Home Care, By ,,, , With Comments Off on Benefits of End-of-Life Planning

The cause of death for most Americans will be complications from a chronic health problem, such as heart disease, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or Alzheimer’s. Many people live with these chronic illnesses for years, even decades. Often the time comes when the chronically ill patient will not survive unless extraordinary measures are taken—and many doctors and hospitals will keep escalating the medical interventions that might buy the patient more time. If the person becomes incapacitated and is no longer able to make medical decisions, the responsibility for deciding how long life-sustaining efforts should continue often falls on family members.

Making an advance directive, or end-of-life plan, lets you decide which medical procedures you want, and which you do not want. Basically, advance directives give you more control over how you will die—and for many people, this makes the prospect of dying less frightening.

Making Your Last Wishes Legal

There are 2 documents involved in advance directives:

  • Living will
  • Health care proxy

A living will states your wishes about what health care measures you want, and which you do not want. These can include instructions about:

  • Pain medications
  • Do not resuscitate (DNR) order
  • Feeding tube
  • Respirator
  • Organ donation
  • Funeral arrangements

A health care proxy is someone who has the legal authority to make decisions about your end-of-life if you are no longer able to communicate these wishes yourself.

You should make sure that your wishes are as clear and unambiguous as possible. Make an appointment and discuss your end-of-life plan with your doctor or a geriatric social worker. Choose a health proxy who can be present during a medical emergency. Make sure that all your healthcare practitioners are aware of your directives.

Benefits of Having Advance Directives

Most of us would rather not deal with the subject of death—especially our own. At the same time, many people understand that there are situations that they would avoid, if possible—for instance, being kept alive by respirators after being diagnosed as “brain dead.” Having legal advance directives in place has a number of benefits:

  • Reduces fear and anxiety about death
  • Gives people a sense of empowerment over their own deaths
  • Clarifies the situation for family members who may not agree about end-of-life procedures for their loved one
  • Gives patients a greater sense of trust in their doctors
  • Helps doctors clearly understand the final wishes of their patients
  • Reduces number of costly medical procedures that are not wanted

When should you make a living will and designate a health proxy? Do it today, no matter how old you are or what your health status is.

Source:  http://senior-health.knoji.com/benefits-of-endoflife-planning

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

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