If you don't have a living will or an advanced directive, you don't have your affairs in order. April 16th is the first ever National Healthcare Decisions Day and Avera is doing everything it can to encourage you to be prepared. That means getting your wishes put down out on paper.
Two legal documents make up an Advanced Directive:
A Healthcare Power of Attorney names the person you select to be your voice for healthcare if you cannot speak for yourself if you are either incapacitated or unconscious.
A Living Will documents what kinds of medical treatment you want or don't want at end of life.
Jean Reed is a Senior Vice President at Avera Health. She says, "You often hear about heroic measures being taken at end of life. This way I have a say in what measures I want taken. If I stop breathing don't resuscitate. If I'm considered brain dead there may only be certain things I want done and I have it all spelled out."
Since both of those documents are considered legal they need to be notarized. You don't have to go to a lawyer. You should keep copies at home and tell your family about them. Give a copy to your doctor so it becomes part of your permanent file, you might also want to leave one at the hospital of your choice and if you travel a lot keep copies in the glove compartment or in your carry on bag if you fly a lot.
Jean says, "When my mom passed away those things weren't done ahead of time. My sister and I didn't know what were wishes were because we just never talked about it. We vowed to take care of it so our kids don't need to that."
Jean got her Advanced Directive done for her daughters sake. She says, " I remember thinking you have to make really difficult decisions at a point of time when you are emotionally not equipped to may any decisions. So it really is best to do it now."
So do your family a favor, have the tough conversation and map out the path you want now so it won't be a burden to them later.