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End of Life Planning on National Healthcare Decisions Day

Meghana Giridhar - April 12, 2016 02:44 PM

April 16th, 2016 is National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD). A 50-state annual initiative, this day is about providing information and empowering the public including healthcare providers about advance care planning.

End of life planning is critical because it takes away all the guesswork during a medical crisis. Family members and doctors can follow the care recipient’s wishes allowing them the dignity and respect they deserve. End of life planning includes instructions on how care recipients want to live their final days, the manner of care they wish to receive and financial planning for care payment.

End of life planning must be in written format and should cover the type of care one desires if he/she is extremely unwell or dying. Such planning is called advance directives planning.

There are 3 main aspects of advance directives.

Living Will:

A living will elaborates a person’s care wishes if a situation where he/she can’t express themselves. It covers acceptable treatments during final days and what is not desired when one is terminally ill or in the final stage of an illness. It is best to consult with your doctor before preparing this document to discuss treatment options for a range of medical conditions.

A Health Care Proxy:

It is impossible to predict everything that could potentially occur in the future when it comes to circumstances involving health. For that reason, it is important to have a representative who can make decisions on a person’s behalf in the role of a health care proxy. This person could be anyone you are comfortable with, a family member or friend or lawyer. An alternate name can also be included in case the primary person is not available. A health care proxy is not the same as durable power of attorney. A durable power of attorney allows a representative to make decisions regarding property or financial matters as also health care.

A Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) Order:

In a situation where a person’s heart stops or breathing stops, the Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order tells health care providers not to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or other life-support procedures. A DNR order is signed by a health care provider and can be prepared at the hospital.

It is best to prepare advance directives in collaboration with a lawyer. The documents need to be witnessed by a public notary. Copies must be distributed to your family members and doctors.

The theme for National Healthcare Decisions Day this year is "It Always Seems Too Early, Until It’s Too Late." It is wise to take this seriously and plan for the future to ascertain peace of mind for everyone involved in their loved ones’ care.

Meghana Giridhar serves as Content Manager and is part of eCareDiary's founding team. In her role, she oversees and edits content across all of eCareDiary's media platforms.

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