You probably make health care decisions every day. If you have an ache or pain, you may take an aspirin. If you suffer from heart disease or diabetes, you may take prescriptions to maintain your health. Your food choices, activity level and moderation in all things are all decisions you make for your good health.
However, have you considered the kinds of medical intervention you expect if your health takes a turn for the worse? Do you have opinions about the treatments you would like doctors to administer or the point in an illness when you want no further medical intervention? While you may have thought about these matters, chances are you have not discussed them with your family. Unfortunately, it may be those family members who will be making those decisions for you.
Difficult choices to make
One of the most stressful events in someone’s life is when a parent or spouse becomes gravely ill or injured. If an injury or illness leaves you unable to speak or communicate with your loved ones or medical team, how will you share with them your wishes for medical treatment? Perhaps the most effective manner of making your wishes known is to draft an advance health care directive. With this document, you can address your desires concerning a variety of matters, such as:
- If and when doctors should resuscitate you if your heart stops beating
- Whether you want doctors to put you on a life support system if you can no longer breathe on your own or are in a coma
- If you want IV fluids and nutrients when you are unable to take food and drink
- How much medical treatment beyond pain management you may want in the end stages of a terminal illness
- Your definition of quality of life
- Whether you prefer to spend your remaining days at home or in nursing care
- If you want to donate your organs
- Whether you want religious ceremonies before your passing
- If you want pain medication that may cause you to spend your last days disoriented and sleepy
These are only a few of the many questions your loved ones may have to answer if your health deteriorates. By providing your answers and clarifying your wishes and opinions, you may relieve your loved ones of having to make life and death decisions without the aid of your input. You can learn more about advance medical directives and their benefits by speaking with a Georgia estate planning attorney.