Monday, April 20, 2009

Speak for yourself later by writing it now

Why Do We Avoid Advance Directives?
By Paula Span

The day will likely come when your parent becomes to incapacitated to make choices about medical decisions. It could happen in ten years or ten months; you just don't know.

When it does you're going to want to know where the advance medical directive for health care is. Your going to want to know what your parents want you to do. You don't want to have to try and guess for yourself.

It’s startling how few Americans have advance directives. A Pew Research Center survey in 2006 found that only 29 percent of people had a living will; in 2007, a Harris study put the proportion with advance directives at two in five.

That can put both physicians and families in an awful bind. Sometimes, a hospital ethics committee has to get involved. Sometimes, courts and lawyers do.

If only the patient had left clear instructions!

So why don’t we?

One reason is that advance directives may be misperceived. People may equate such documents with limiting care, with pulling the plug. But that is only one (optional) aspect of it. Your living will can say anything you want, from pulling the plug in certain circumstances to including instructions to extend your life for as long as humanly possible under any circumstance. And anything in between.

Even with a directive, family members or doctors can challenge the decisions made on your behalf if they disagree. Your wishes will have a much better chance of being carried out if you spell them out clearly in your directive.

The rest of the article is here.

It is not complicated or expensive and many have forms you can do yourself. Utah's is here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's YOU'RE!