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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

PULL THE PLUG- A PRIMER ON ADVANCE CARE DIRECTIVES



If you become very ill or injured, you may not be able to make health care choices for yourself. You want your health care providers to be clear as to what type of care you prefer during those times when you are unable to speak for yourself. If family members are uncertain about the type of medical care you want they could disagree with each eachother leading to hard feelings or even expensive litigation. An advance care directive is a legal document that tells your providers what care you agree to in advance of this type of situation. With this document, you can tell your providers what medical treatment you do not want to have and what treatment you want no matter how ill you are.

Writing an advance care directive may be hard, but if you don’t go through the process you risk having someone else making decisions about you body. 


In it, you can state your wishes about receiving:
  • CPR (if your breathing stops or your heart stops beating)
  • Feedings through a tube into a vein (IV) or into your stomach
  • Extended care on a breathing machine
  • Tests, medicines, or surgeries
  • Blood transfusions
  • Organ donation
Once you finish your advanced health care directive it is important to discuss it with the person you have appointed as your “agent” for health care. In my firm I have clients register their directive with a company that will fax it to hospitals 24/7 once the number on the wallet card is called. 
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