In the course of my practice, I find that most people put off making end of life decisions until it is too late. These decisions involve big choices such as hospice preferences and decisions regarding the degree of life saving measures wanted. While the decisions are big, a well-drafted advance health care directive and the right guidance can give your loved ones and medical providers the information and power they need to fulfill your requests.
I recently had the opportunity to be with someone very close to me as he died. I went through all the many emotions that can come from events like this. As a professional in this area of practice, I also noticed how the various decisions he made prior to this event dramatically effected how cared for and comfortable he was during his passage. These decisions also directly impacted the degree of stress and anxiety experienced by the caretakers.
There are two major takeaway points from that experience which I want to pass along-
1. Comfort care- In many cases, without the proper dosage of morphine or another medication, the process of dying can cause pain and suffering. Having a properly drafted advance health care directive allows your selected decision maker to get you the medicine you need to provide a higher level of comfort.
2. Primary physician- Having a primary physician and sharing your advance health care directive with your physician is very important. Often, if an individual does not have a primary physician, it is difficult for medical staff to get the authorization needed to increase the dosage of pain-relieving medicine.
My job as an estate planning attorney is to make sure that my client’s wishes are understood and protected through various legal techniques and documents. Contact us to find out more about what services we offer that may be of assistance to you. The National Institute on Aging also has a great resource on this topic.