Posted 4/15/2019 in Regional Medical Center
National Healthcare Decisions Day is April 16. Making decisions about your medical care at the end-of-life is important partly because of the growing ability of medical technology to prolong life. Many people want to avoid extending personal and family suffering by artificially sustaining life if they are in a vegetative state or when there is no hope of recovery. Others want everything medically possible done. The best way for you to retain control in these situations is to record your preferences for medical care in advance and share your decisions with your healthcare provider, loved ones, and/or clergy.
Studies indicate that most Americans have not exercised their right to make decisions about their healthcare in the event they can’t speak for themselves. Although it isn’t possible to specify every possible procedure under every possible circumstance, it is possible to decide what kind of treatment you would want in most situations. There are certain common conditions and treatments typically used in end-of-life situations that can be discussed in advance. For example, if you have irreversible brain damage or a dementing illness, would you want CPR, a ventilator, artificial nutrition, or antibiotics? Preferences can be clarified by thinking about your views on death, being totally dependent on the care of others, your family finances, etc. You should then discuss these views with your family. If you have any questions about any of the medical procedures that might be used, you should speak to your healthcare provider.
Once you’ve determined your preferences, document them in a Living Will and Durable Power of Attorney. You may pick up this simple form at RMC at registration desks, the Welcome Desk, or the Health Information Department. You can also visit our website at regmedctr.org/advance-directives.
If you’ve already completed an advance directive, it’s important to give a copy to your healthcare provider and the hospital so it’s on file if you would need emergent care. Be sure to update these copies if there are changes.
In honor of National Healthcare Decisions Day, RMC urges you to take time now and think about what you would want. This is not just for elderly people; as we well know, accidents and sudden illnesses can happen at age age. Research the options, talk to your loved ones, and make a plan.