Statement of end-of-life wishes serves as a guide for loved ones.Byline: Lois B. Green
COLUMN: AS I SEE IT
The designation of April 16 as the inaugural "National Healthcare Decisions Day" makes this a perfect time for everyone to join the national effort to decide, discuss and document their end-of-life end-of-life Cardiac pacing noun The point at which a pacemaker signals need for replacement, as its battery is nearing depletion Medtalk adjective wishes, whatever they may be.
Approximately 50 of the most prominent national healthcare, religious, and legal associations and organizations as well as countless local and state organizations will participate in the inaugural National Health Care Decisions Day tomorrow.
The goal of this nationwide initiative is to ensure that all adults with decision-making decision-making,
n the process of coming to a conclusion or making a judgment.
n a type of informal decision-making that combines clinical expertise, patient concerns, and evidence gathered from capacity in America have both the information and the opportunity to communicate and document their future health care decisions.
In Central Massachusetts, Better Ending Partnership is a not-for-profit community coalition of professional, civic, business and religious leaders committed to providing education about and promoting compassionate com·pas·sion·ate
1. Feeling or showing compassion; sympathetic. See Synonyms at humane.
2. Granted to an individual because of an emergency or other unusual circumstances: , informed and effective end-of-life care.
Similar to the goals of the nationwide initiative to be launched tomorrow, Better Ending Partnership has been striving to see that all persons in Central Massachusetts live their last days in this life as comfortably as possible, in the setting of their choice, according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. their expressed wishes, while they and their families are supported by a caring community.
To this end, the Better Ending Partnership has distributed more than 90,000 guides, including versions in Spanish and Vietnamese. The guide educates people on the importance of having a health care proxy health care proxy End-of-life A power of attorney for health-care decision-making in which a person designates another to make medical decisions in the event that he/she becomes too incapacitated to make such decisions. See Advance medical directive, Living will. and of communicating their wishes regarding their end-of-life care to their families and physicians. The Partnership also provides speakers to many organizations.
Each of us has the ability to guide our health-care providers and loved ones loved ones npl → seres mpl queridos
loved ones npl → proches mpl et amis chers
loved ones love npl about what we want. As we all learned from the Terry Schiavo situation, leaving decisions to others can be very complicated - and, indeed, cause pain and suffering for our loved ones who are trying to decide what you might have wanted. "Advance directives Advance Directive
A document expressing a person's wishes about critical care when he or she is unable to decide for him or herself. However, it does not authorize anyone to act on a person's behalf or make decisions the way a power of attorney would. " give individuals the ability to document the types of health care they do and do not want and to name an "agent" to speak for them when they are unable to speak for themselves.
With the Patient Self-Determination Act Patient Self-Determination Act An act that requiring health professionals reimbursed by Medicare/Medicaid to inform Pts of their legal rights to refuse treatment and prepare advance directives. of 1990, Congress affirmed af·firm
v. af·firmed, af·firm·ing, af·firms
1. To declare positively or firmly; maintain to be true.
2. To support or uphold the validity of; confirm.
v.intr. the right of every citizen to set forth his or her future health care wishes in writing with an advance directive.
Unfortunately, far too few people have actually taken advantage of this. Waiting too long may make communication more difficult, which is why we urge everyone, if possible, to name a health proxy while they are healthy.
Lois B. Green is board chairwoman of the Better Ending Partnership. More information, along with a sample health care proxy and a sample personal wishes statement, is available online at www.betterending.org.
CUTLINE: Lois B. Green