Talking to your family about end of life decisions
End-of-life care planning is something that needs to be discussed, and it’s a conversation that can start at home. Informing your family members about your wishes is a great place to start. There are really two sides to the end-of-life discussion. The first side is about health care. Some questions that Chicago estate planning lawyers ask clients to consider include:
- Do I want to be kept on life support?
- Would I want a feeding tube inserted?
- Do I want heavy doses of pain medication?
- Do I want spiritual support if it is available?
- What should happen if I am unable to speak on my own behalf?
A Power of Attorney for Health Care is an essential Advance Directive that should be filled out by adults of all ages – and updated on a regular basis. Selecting an individual to act as your Power of Attorney is something that needs careful consideration as well. It’s important to be certain that your Power of Attorney will make decisions on your behalf that reflect your wishes and preferences. While a Power of Attorney names an agent to make decisions, a Living Will is a document that specifies instructions for treatment. Copies of both documents should be given to your physician, your listed agent on your Power of Attorney, and a copy should be kept in the home in a visible location, as well.
In addition to a Power of Attorney and a Living Will, some people choose to complete a Do-Not-Resuscitate form (DNR), which instructs emergency personnel whether or not to perform CPR. A DNR should be filled out with the help of a physician to make sure the individual understands the circumstances. If one chooses to complete a DNR, copies should be given to the agent on the Power of Attorney, the physician, and a copy in a bright color (depending on your state) should be placed in a highly visible location in the home, so emergency personnel would be able to see it should they enter the residence.