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How to direct end-of-life medical care

Updated on May 2, 2017

Take a moment and check questions and resources to meet our goals.

Our motive, catalyst, or desire to live life to the fullest on our terms. To accomplish this, we must first define reasons to master of our life medically and legally. Our decision is indeed coming from our heart. It is paramount to make family and friends know our rights and who will be legally helping make this happen for us. An adult needs to consider this subject and express our desires if the need comes true. Asking family, a friend or a professional is a small gift to the person; we have selected to be our director of Durable of Medical Power of Attorney. We have given them permission to act without any guilt or second-guessing while being available to stand up for us. We have made the decision and should there be a time to invoke this power our decision it will be only with designated permission. This time is not sad although stressful time, it is a time to advert some stress when everything seems to fall apart.


Where to begin?

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We must look at four topics together.

Our motive, catalyst, or desire to live life to the fullest on our terms. To accomplish this, we must first define reasons to master of our life medically and legally. Our decision is indeed coming from our heart. It is paramount to make family and friends know our rights and who will be legally helping make this happen for us. An adult needs to consider this subject and express our desires if the need comes true. Asking family, a friend or a professional is a small gift to the person; we have selected to be our director of Durable of Medical Power of Attorney. We have given them permission to act without any guilt or second-guessing while being available to stand up for us. We have made the decision and should there be a time to invoke this power our decision it will be only with designated permission. This time is not sad although stressful time, it is a time to advert some stress when everything seems to fall apart.


Take a moment and check questions and resources to meet our goals. Let's look at the four questions. Our desire, to live life on our terms, is one of the defining reasons for each of us to be the master of our life. Our decision is indeed coming from our heart. Take a moment to think about our decision and how that decision will affect family and friends. We must be informed and have education and documents needed to consider this subject and put our desire in writing. This small gift of confidence in the person we have selected to be our Representative of Durable of Medical Power of Attorney. We have given them permission to act without any guilt or second-guessing. We have made the decision and should there be a time to invoke this power our decision it will be only with designated permission.

The following four questions are to help guide us in answering the thoughts of having a Durable Medical Power of Attorney.

• What is our catalyst for making medical decisions regarding our needs?

• Who will be there to know what these decisions are?

• How do we access help and remain independent?

• Where to start?


Helping friends and loved ones with these questions means we need to take a step back and view of the Repersentative and put our wishes, desires, and needs before theirs. We have given a task which defines our relationship. Our responsibility is only to make the Representative and our general wishes. Our family should know and stand guard for the implementation according to our wishes. Now we must make these decisions for ourselves, and in many cases, there are ‘no do-overs.' Now the hard decisions are left to us. Many of us had no idea the in depth thought or concerns which are required.

**** Let's begin - where to start

We start with a little soul searching. Let’s start with the most difficult of decisions. What are our final wishes – do we want to 'live' no matter what? If so, we must define life; many of us want to be allowed to stay alive if we have the capacity to know and enjoy our time. However, to the medical profession, life is breathing, heart beating and some level of brain activity. The problem is at the root of these definitions of life can be accomplished artificially. Do we want to be kept alive when our body is worn out, and we cannot participate in the activities of being alive? There are many educational opportunities for us to help make an informed decision. An overwhelming task to take on and one that can be decided by another if not answered by us, in writing before the need.


*** How do we access help and remain independent? Know the desired health care outcome.


We must look to the medical field and the legal field to find the answers. A beginning for this is to search out what is ‘today’ considered medically legal and acceptable. Different states have a different assessment tool for answering this medical question. Should we want ALL help possible, this can mean do everything to keep us alive no matter the condition of life or the expense? Do we want to be kept on machines forever? These two questions can only be answered by you and perhaps your clergy and discussed in complete privacy. Once we have arrived at some decisions, we will need the help of a legal expert in the field of Advance Directives. This person will know the state and federal laws allowing us to write our decisions in legal form. The directives are not uniform to a particular document, across our country. Now finished with the decision, to which all must abide, it is important to file with your lawyer, doctor and especially in the new Electronic Medical Records (EMRs - we are lead to believe.) are accessible by all medical professionals treating you. (Please be sure, due to our emerging reliance on computers that the EMR (Electronic Medical Records) are enforced within your geographical location.) Many states have a one-page Advance Directives that is signed by our doctor, and we placed in a particular location for Emergency Medical Personal to have it at their ready. Most of us do not have our doctor or attorney at the ready for such circumstances thus utilizing documents readily available to medical personnel.

The Conversation

** How to select a person to convey our wishes? Who will be the person to hold the power of the Advance Medical Directives?

This person needs to be able to stand up and express OUR wishes. Medical staff or family should not influence your designated decision-maker. They are, after all, just stating our decisions. It would seem that this action is one of the most important of questions of life. (Examples; there is medical staff which considers antibiotics are a noninvasive procedure. Also, the terminology used by those in the medical field. These are just two examples when in fact there are more.) and Many times family members have not discussed this eventuality regarding decision-making principles. So much of the time family members are in a state of shock when told a loved one is passing or has passed. There may be a situation of significant trouble comprehending the gravity of the situation. The decision is a clear opportunity for the person, family, and friends to discuss our options and desires. An opportunity to know the significance of the decisions. When there are conversations with those directly affected and those having the power, establishing trust and clarity for all concerned. Policy makers and discussions have taken some of the shock and awe out of the decision. Truly, it would be wonderful if this small talk can create cohesion within this group. Cohesion among family members does not happen often. Having everyone on the same page is of particular importance now rather than later when as the decision becomes at the forefront of emotions. Carrying out another person last wishes is tough especially when the person is very close to us. Enacting this task while not agreeing with parts or all of it requires a comprehensive understanding of the responsibility at hand.

• What is the catalyst for making medical decisions regarding our needs? Do not expect someone to know your answers, keep them informed.

Our motive, catalyst, or desire to live life on our terms is one of the defining reasons for each of us to be the master of our life. Wait a minute, let’s take a more in-depth look at this answer. Our decision is indeed coming from our heart. Take a moment to think about our decision and where that decision will take us. An adult living in today’s world must consider this subject and put our desire in writing or give your last days hours or minutes to the hands of someone unknown. This small gift to the person we have selected to be our Director of Durable of Medical Power of Attorney. We have given them permission to act without any guilt or second-guessing. We have made the decision and should there be a time to invoke the power of our decision it will be only with designated permission.
The importance of this action is more and more likely the most important one of our life. Do not leave this document unread and locked away for years without making sure it is still a responsible request.

When family and physician come together for complete understanding.
When family and physician come together for complete understanding. | Source

Information to stimulate conversation regarding end of life decisions.

Terminology to be aware of:

Invasive/noninvasive care and medications. What about hydration?

Our state’s definition of when life ends.

What is considered to be extraordinary measures.

Do we have knowledge of body donation?

Do we have knowledge of specific religious rituals to be preformed at or near the time of death?

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