We have all heard horror stories about family members disagreeing over end-of-life care decisions. This can result in families ending up in protracted court battles while patients are kept alive on life support. All the while, no one really knew what the patient actually wanted. Do not let this happen to you. Provide your loved ones with some relief by planning ahead for your healthcare decisions.
On April 16, 2016, organizations throughout the country tried to inspire, educate and empower the public about the importance of advance care planning. National Healthcare Decisions Day encourages people to express their wishes regarding healthcare. Ask yourself – do your loved ones know your wishes?
Here is a great video on this important issue:
Modern medicine can do some amazing things, but often requires complex and difficult decisions. Life support can keep people alive for months and even years, but people have various opinions about end of life care. Regardless of what your opinions are, your loved ones cannot act on your wishes unless they know them.
Legal documents such as Advance Medical Directives, Healthcare Powers of Attorney, Living Wills, and Do Not Resuscitate orders give agents legal authority to make decisions on your behalf. However, they generally give very little guidance on what your wishes would be in specific situations and what type of decisions you would want your loved ones to make.
Have the conversation.
Let your loved ones know what your wishes are and document those wishes. The legal document combined with the conversation is truly a gift to your helpers. This helps avoid confusion, guilt, and conflict in an already very stressful situation.
At InSight Law, we provide the legal documents, hypothetical healthcare checklists, and letters of instruction for client’s healthcare agents. If you are a client and have not completed these lists, we strongly encourage you to do so now. Please contact the firm if you need copies. Then remember, after the documents are completed the important part is the discussion with your helper. Things can happen at any time. It is important to be prepared. Additionally, keep your documents updated because your wishes may change over time. We recommend revisiting these documents to make sure your preferences remain the same.
The tools are out there. Be aware, spread the word, and help promote the importance of advance care planning.