Live And Die With Dignity
Living on your own terms is one of the great privileges we humans have even if everyone doesn’t actually achieve that ideal. And, now we Americans are also paying more attention to how we die.
Dying with dignity and on your own terms is truly important since medical professionals are trained to keep everyone alive no matter the circumstances unless they are directed to do otherwise. This leads me to the importance of end-of-life Treatment Medical Declarations. You want your loved ones to know your wishes in the event of a sudden illness, accident or slipping in and out of consciousness in old age. With the all-too common use of intubations during COVID-19, we are learning about the many different treatments that can be performed on someone to keep them alive. COVID-19 has made everyone aware of how death can claim anyone at any time in a more vivid and profound way than ever before.
The Purpose Of An Advance Directive, Living Will Or Healthcare Power of Attorney
Each of the following – advance directive, living will and healthcare Power of Attorney – are the same thing. The terms are often used interchangeably. No matter what they are called, it is important to have one if you want to die on your own terms. The purpose of these documents is to articulate and document your wishes concerning medical treatment should you lose decision-making ability.
With this document you designate an individual, known as your healthcare agent or proxy, to ensure your wishes are honored should you no longer be able to speak for yourself. This includes, among other things, making decisions about when to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining treatment.
Write Detailed Information About What You Want And What You Don’t Want
Many people just assume that their family members will know what their wishes are and what to do during their final days. But, according to deathwithdignity.org, “data show few Americans have had detailed conversations about their wishes for end-of-life care.” https://deathwithdignity.org/advance-directive/
Since most people don’t know exactly when death will come knocking on the door, it helps to think things through ahead of time. Especially if there are treatments you want to avoid at all costs.
Include detailed information about what procedures or types of care you would like to receive. And equally important to include are what you wish to avoid at all costs. For instance, would you want to take advantage of all life-support technologies if it would only postpone death? Would you want to use them if you were permanently unconscious? Would you want them if you were going through an advanced progressive illness?
Along with designating a healthcare power of attorney, you may want to include a list of people you do not want making healthcare decisions for you. Be very clear and make sure there is no room for confusion on these points which could lead to tensions among your loved ones as you are dying.
To get the process started, begin by asking yourself some questions. For instance have you defined what a good death means and looks like to you? And if you are sick or injured, what defines a life worth living How long are you willing to prolong life if you are being breathed and fed by machines?
Dying is part of living and both, living and dying well are within our wherewithal to create. We simply have to take the time to consider what both look like and taking the actions required to ensure they unfold according to our desires.
If you have questions about end-of-life Treatment Medical Directives, give our office a call. The sense of relief and contentment most clients feel upon creating this important document is palpable. Their loved ones also feel the same sense of relief knowing they do not have to make such important decisions.