Do you have a family member that is very sick? Have you had the conversation about what they would want in advance if they are too ill to make their own decisions?
Thinking ahead about how we would like to be cared for if we can no longer make our own medical decisions is very important. But most people shy away from the difficult conversation of advance planning for health care.
Oncologist/ Palliative Care Expert Dr. Adil Akhtar can provide commentary and basic tips to the media on what documents people should think about reviewing and signing in advance – BEFORE your loved one gets sick. He has also founded Advance Care Now to help people understand and make decisions about advance care planning.
Learning about your options and making your decisions early will not only give you peace of mind, but also peace to your loved ones. You make important decisions in your life such as estate planning or planning your will. Advanced care planning should also be one of THE most important decisions in your life. By thinking and planning ahead, you loved ones will not be put in an uncomfortable position. And this can be a comfort to all, in especially emergency medical situations.
The following are examples of what patients and their families should be thinking about before someone gets sick.
- LIVING WILL
A living will should be in place. It allows you to state critical health care decisions including medications and life support/ DNR – do not resuscitate – and have those decisions in writing.
- POWER OF ATTORNEY FOR HEALTH CARE
A specific person may be designated to make decisions for you when you are unable to do so. It can be a spouse, adult child, family member, or friend.
- BREATHING TUBES and VENTILATORS
This is where the machine breathes for you. If you are unable to breathe on your own, do you want to stay that way?
- FEEDING TUBES and DIALYSIS
This is if you are unable to feed yourself or if your kidneys shut down, and you need to go on dialysis.