Some Tips for End-Of-Life Planning
Some tips for end-of-life planning:
_Talk to your doctor about your wishes and values concerning end-of-life care. What would make life not worth living for you? Ask your doctor to note your views on your chart.
_Give a family member or trusted friend the legal authority to make medical decisions for you if you are unable. Talk to that person about your values and wishes.
_Consider a living will. If you do, be as specific as possible. You might include information about whether you want life-sustaining treatment; types of treatment you would or would not want and under what conditions; preferences about artificial nutrition and hydration; what if any pain control medication you want and under what circumstances; and whether you want to be an organ donor.
_Consider using a standardized living will that addresses some of the basic questions such as the popular ``Five Wishes″ document produced by the nonprofit Aging with Dignity. (Available for $5 each.)
_Update your living will if you are diagnosed with a serious or terminal disease to address the medical situations that are most common to people with your condition. Talk with your doctor about what to expect.
_Talk to family members about your general wishes to minimize disputes if decisions must be made for you.
_Keep your living will in an accessible, easy-to-find spot. Tell your family where to find the document. Give copies to your doctor, family members likely to be involved in decision-making, hospitals that might treat you and your lawyer.
On the Net:
Five Wishes: http://www.agingwithdignity.org
American Bar Association guide: http://www.abanet.org/publiced/practical/directive_livingwill.html