“…let us not [only] love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” 1 John 3:18
This time of year, many people make resolutions or plans for the new year. This past fall I attended a workshop on people with serious illness that included discussions on Advance Care Planning. As part of that workshop I came across a document called Five Wishes (FiveWishes.org). This document is a Living Will and Health Care Proxy or Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care Decisions that talks about your personal, emotional, and spiritual needs as well as your medical wishes. Over the next several months I will be reviewing this document and your wishes related to End of Life care. If you are interested you can purchase the document at the site listed above.
Identifying the person you want to make health care
decisions for you when you can’t make them for yourself
It is important to choose someone who knows you very well, cares about you, and who can make difficult decisions. A spouse or family member may not be the best choice because they are too emotionally involved. But, sometimes they are the BEST choice. Choose someone who is able to advocate for you so that your wishes are followed. Also choose someone who is likely to be near by so they can help when you need them. This individual called a Health Care Agent should know your wishes (talk to them) and agree to respect and follow your wishes. Your Health Care Agent should be at least 18 years or older.
This individual should not be: 1) Your health care provider; 2) an employee or spouse of an employee of your health care provider; or 3) serving as an agent or proxy for 10 or more people.
This individual will make health care decisions for you if you are unable to do so and if a treating health care provider finds you are no longer able to make health care choices. These choices can include choices about medications, tests, treatments or surgery; consent to admission to assisted living facility, hospital, hospice or nursing home; request, take away or not give medical treatments such as artificially-provided food and water; see and approve release of medical records; authorize medication or treatment to help with pain; donate useable organs or tissues; or apply for Medicare, Medicaid, or other programs or insurance benefits for you.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
Carolyn D. Pauling PhD