Having a living will can take pressure off of family members and doctors by taking the guesswork out of care.
Who will make choices for you once you are unable? Does your family, health care provider, or caregiver know what your final wishes are?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC), only 1/3 of american adults have a living will that specifies their end-of-life wishes. In fact, even among the severely or terminally ill, less than 50% have a living will in place.
A living will, also known as an advance directive, is a legal document that gives specific instructions as to the type of medical treatment a person prefers, should they suffer from severe illness or become incapacity. Whether a person is in great health, or suffering from a chronic illness, a living will is an important part of planning for the future.
A Living Will gives Direction
A living will allows family, health care providers, and caregivers to provide the personalized care desired by an individual in the event that they are unable to specify those needs on their own.
It is a way to ensure a person does not suffer unnecessarily, and can help improve quality of life for the individual. It is also releases loved ones and family members from the burden of making difficult decisions.
Depending on personal preference and need, a living will may include either general information, or specific medical care instruction. It can be created at any time during a person’s life, and revised if circumstances should change.
A living will often include appointment of power of attorney as well. In the event that a person can no longer speak or make decisions on their own, the caregiver, or agent who has power of attorney can legally make those decisions for them.
In general the goals of a living will include:
- The specific type of medical treatment desired.
- Whether or not to allow feeding tubes or ventilators.
- What types of medications and pain management a person prefers.
- Whether or not a person wants resuscitated.
The only way to legally ensure that your end-of-life wishes are met, is to make certain that you have a living will in place. For more information contact us at The Elder Care Firm.
Now one thing to keep in mind is Michigan does not recognize living wills, so instead we include living will type language in the Patient Advocate Designation.