We expect our personal dignity to be respected and honored at every stage of life. This is especially true regarding our personal health care needs and choices. As long as we are able, we control the choices for medical treatment and the plan of care related to any illness or injury we face. For those times we are unable to make decisions, we can complete an Advance Directive.
Every adult should protect their personal dignity in the event of a tragic accident or terminal illness. We can do this by naming someone to make health care choices when we are unable to speak for ourselves. The person you appoint is referred to as an Agent. Studies show that half of all people who die are incapable of making health care decisions at the end stage of life. This fact alone makes it important that every adult over 18 take the time to thoughtfully complete an Advance Directive.
• HMW provides a Health Care Power of Attorney & Directive (HCPAD) as an Advance Directive in the sheet protector at the end of this section that you may choose to use, or you may insert your own. You may find it appropriate to put any needed documents directly into the guidebook instead of the sheet protectors. Instructions on completing an Advance Directive follow, as well as a helpful tool for determining who might make a good Agent for you.
• The tool Creating An Addendum and the sample advance directive addendums that follow may help you create an optional personal addendum for your Advance Directive. A personal addendum of this nature helps to provide guidance to your Health Care Agent and relieve loved ones of anxiety related to making difficult health care decisions for you.
• Regular review of your health care status and updating important information will provide timely information for your Agent. As your health status changes, make certain the Advance Directive and addendum continue to reflect your personal values and goals for your care.
As a retired RN and social worker, I know how important it is for people of ALL ages to plan for end of life. Having a will is not enough. Power of attorney for finances and health care decision making are very important to allow someone you trust to handle your affairs, should you become incapacitated in some way. I highly recommend the class "Honor My Wishes" which explores all of the issues surrounding end-of-life so that you can prevent confusion over your wishes, unnecessary expense and burdens on your loved ones. I plan to take the class again to make sure that the Davis family has i
Marianne Davis, Puyallup, WA