Making Your Wishes Known

By Beth Taylor, Marketing & Community Outreach, Community Hospice –

Making Your Wishes KnownIt doesn’t matter how young or how old you are, everyone should have a living will.  You may be in an accident, have surgery, or become suddenly ill.  Does your family know what you want if you are unable to speak for yourself?

Although end-of-life care is never an easy conversation to have with your loved ones, it is an important issue and one you should talk about with your family.  Some people have very definitive ideas about what they do or do not want, others are not so sure.  Having that conversation with your family can sometimes help you decide and allows them to know how you feel about certain life-sustaining treatments.

Just as important as writing down your wishes in a living will is choosing your health care agent – someone who will speak for you if you are unable to speak for yourself.  You should choose someone who will honor your wishes, someone who can remain calm during a crisis, someone who will ask questions of your health care providers, someone who will be your advocate, someone who knows you well, someone you trust.

Once you have completed a living will and chosen a health care agent, you need to make sure your wishes are known to your close family members, friends and health care providers.  Be sure your health care agent has a copy of your living will and that your living will is stored someplace that is easily accessible during a crisis.  Take a copy of your living will to your primary care physician and any other specialists you see regularly and be sure to tell them what you do or do not want with regards to your end-of-life care.  If you use the same medical facility most of the time, ask them to include a copy in your medical records.

April 16 has been designated as National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD), a nationwide initiative by more than 100 national organizations including AARP, American Medical Association, National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization, American Nurses Association, and others.  Just as you get your financial affairs in order, the hope is you will also take this opportunity to have a discussion with your family and close friends about your end-of-life care wishes.

Frequently in today’s media we see and read more about end-of-life care and making our wishes known.  There are numerous resources available and a few are listed below.  Community Hospice also has staff available who can speak about living wills to clubs, groups, churches and other organizations.  You can contact us at 606-329-1890 or 800-926-6184 to schedule an appointment.

Consider the facts.
There’s a big gap between what people say they want and what actually happens.
. 60% of people say that making sure their family is not burdened by tough decisions is “extremely important”
. 56% have not communicated their end-of-life wishes
Source: Survey of Californians by the California HealthCare Foundation (2012)

. 70% of people say they prefer to die at home
. 70% die in a hospital, nursing home, or long-term care facility
Source: Centers for Disease Control (2005)

. 80% of people say that if seriously ill, they would want to talk to their doctor about end-of-life care
. 7% report having had an end-of-life conversation with their doctor
Source: Survey of Californians by the California HealthCare Foundation (2012)

. 82% of people say it’s important to put their wishes in writing
. 23% have actually done it
Source: Survey of Californians by the California HealthCare Foundation (2012)

Check Also

“Test Drive” Hearing Aids with FLEX TRIAL

“Test Drive” Hearing Aids with FLEX TRIAL

By Ann L. Rhoten, Au.D., CCC/A Would you buy a car without test driving it …