Under the law, every competent adult has the right to formulate Advance Directives, legal documents that spell out their decisions about end-of-life care. Advance directives are made “in advance” of when needed and are carried out when a person has a terminal illness and becomes incapacitated and no longer able to make his or her wishes clear. Advance directives can be extremely helpful to family members and the health care team by guiding them in making difficult decisions. Honoring life and death wishes is the foundation for allowing a person to live and die with grace and dignity.
There are two main types of Advance Directives:
A living will – A living will provides written instructions about the type of care a person would like to receive or not receive in the event they become unconscious or are unable to make decisions.
A medical power of attorney – A medical power of attorney is a written document assigning someone to be in charge of making important decisions on a person’s behalf should they become incapable of making those decisions on their own. This is also known as assigning a healthcare agent
It’s never too early – Even though it may be a difficult conversation, many people have said they felt empowered after expressing their final wishes.
If you’d like more information on Advanced Directives, contact Hospice of the Midwest.