'END OF LIFE' DECISIONS SIMPLIFIED WITH AN ADVANCED HEALTH CARE DIRECTIVE (AHCD)
Making 'end of life' decisions and arrangements can be a daunting task to think about but like many major life decisions it would be wise to plan ahead. Often times when a loved becomes incapacitated and an Advanced Health Care Directive (AHCD) had not been established prior to their incapacitation, it can result in delays of care, uncertainty, and added stress as to what decisions must be made. Without an AHCD, a loved one may be unable to assist the incapacitated person appropriately or at all, depending on their relation to the incapacitated person. Furthermore, family members may be unsure or unclear as to what the wishes of the incapacitated person are.
Many clients are extremely clear that they do not wish to have any extensive (and often expensive) efforts to keep themselves alive if they become terminally ill or comatose. They wish to avoid being artificially hydrated, fed, or provided oxygen while their condition is likely irreversible. A properly drafted and executed AHCD can assist with ensuring your wishes will be honored and, most importantly, put into action if ever needed and can ease stress for your loved one's. In the event of a situation where feuding family members or friends differ in opinion, an AHCD will be able to clearly communicate to the physician what you want as oppose to what individual family members may want.
For example, in one particular case, an attorney was appointed by the Court for a comatose elder whose prognosis was terminal and in very critical condition (among feuding family members) to investigate, collect evidence for, and determine what the comatose elder's wishes would have been. They needed to determine whether he should remain in a comatose state indefinitely or whether he would have wanted to cease treatment and pass away without prolonged care. As a result, the court decided that he would have most likely preferred to cease treatment and pass without prolong care to keep him alive. Despite the best attempt to make not just the best decision but the 'right' decision, having an AHCD available would have provided peace of mind for his loved one's with 100% certainty of his wishes.
A proper Estate Plan including an Advanced Health Care Directive can be instrumental in providing absolute certainty with your wishes in mind for 'end of life' care.