Thursday, April 25, 2013

End of Life Decisions That Count

Advance Medical Directive also known by the name of living will, personal directive, or advance healthcare directive is a set of instructions that define the health care parameters in case you are not able to make decisions on your own due to illness or incapacitation. These instructions usually involve the appointment of a person for making health related decisions on behalf of the incapacitated person.

There are two approaches to carrying out an advance medical directive. The older and traditional structure of such directive is known as the "Living Will". Named such due to the fact that the person making the will is likely to be living at the time of its execution. In this type of directive specific instructions are laid out for the health care providers to follow in case the person giving the instructions is unable to give any instructions on his own.

The second approach is by way of granting a 'medical power of attorney'. This involves the appointment of an agent (usually a family member or a close friend) to take health care related decisions on behalf of the granter in case of his or her incapacitation. This way the granter can make sure that detailed matters concerning the end of life health care procedures are carried our according to his or her wishes. These matters may include general care such as the level of comfort, the option of hospice, personal grooming, and bathing. However these can be more health specific concerning how to go about certain medical procedures like infusions, dialysis, tube feeding, and may include decisions such as continuing or withdrawing the life support system.

The need of advance medical directive has increased in the recent times due to the fact that up to 55% of Americans spend their last days in health care institutions, which is often a long and grueling period for both the dying and their loved ones. Given the advancements in medical technology a near dying person may be kept alive by putting him or her on an artificial life support system and if prolonged this period can be quite stressful both financially and otherwise for the relatives.

Making end of life decisions like these you can have the peace of mind that in case of your incapacitation you will be looked after exactly as you would want, and it also goes to show that how much you love your family and would not want them to suffer unnecessarily on account of your end of life health care issues.

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