Planning for end-of-life decisions is not looked at as a pleasant experience. It is, however, an important one. Online statistics show that anywhere from 60-75% of the population do not have advance directives regarding medical care.
What exactly is an advance directive? It includes a living will, medical power of attorney, and DNR order, if applicable. A living will states what medical treatment you want, or do not want in a situation where you are not able to make your wishes known. A medical power of attorney designates an individual that will act as your health care agent and will be responsible for carrying out your living will.
A DNR order gives specific instructions not to perform CPR should a person’s heart and breathing stop. A DNR order may be included in an advance directive. A DNR order is written by a physician and is not considered valid unless signed by a physician. An advance directive or a DNR order can be canceled or changed at any time.
Having an advance directive in place not only helps the patient, but it helps family members. Many times families may not agree on what decision to make and having a clear advance directive can help families know your wishes.
“HCMC would like every patient that has an advance directive to make it a part of their medical record. Creating an advance directive is the key to protecting the patient’s rights,” states Kelli Wood, Certified Social Worker. “Everyone should consider completing an advance directive as we never know when a sudden illness or accident could affect our ability to make our wishes known.”