July 9, 2012 – While discussing end-of-life care is a painful and difficult topic, it is helpful to be prepared and to plan ahead so you’re ready for any kind of situation.
End-of-life directives help ensure that your wishes are met and honored. With set, clear preferences, you can reduce stress on your family in an emergency situation.
A study by The Journal of the American Medical Association found that preparing end-of-life directives can help reduce healthcare costs and can shape your overall health experiences in a more positive manner.
When arranging for end-of-life directives:
Appoint a healthcare agent. One of the most important steps that you can take is to appoint a healthcare agent. A healthcare agent can be a spouse, family member, or close personal friend who will be able to ensure that your healthcare expectations and wishes are followed if you are not able to make decisions on your own.
Create specific instructions. Ensure that you create detailed, written instructions regarding your wishes for future healthcare. You can fill out an advanced healthcare directive form with these instructions. Forms and required documentation vary by state and can be downloaded at www.caringinfo.org.
Speak to your physician and family members. Notify both your primary physician and your close family members about your healthcare wishes for the future and discuss your plans with them. Ensure that all of the significant parties have copies of your advanced directive forms and documents.
Don’t wait. Don’t wait to make decisions about your future healthcare until you are faced with an emergency situation. Think about your options, make your decisions, and fill out the necessary paperwork as soon as you can.