Doctor’s Note: Advance Directives

 

Amazing technology exists within the field of medicine. Medicine can help the miracle that is the human body heal; however, when the body is no longer able to heal, medical interventions can inflict more suffering. When a family member is gravely ill, it can be hard to make decisions and a lot of medical interventions can be initiated that will not result in improved health for that person. In fact, 10 to 12% of all medical costs in the country are spent in the last year of life – much of that in the last two weeks. What these statistics show is that over time, we treat older generations by more intense means.

It is hard for families to sort out what to do and what not to do when they are mourning, and it is extremely hard to let go. It would be a lot easier if families knew what their loved ones wanted ahead of time. It is also empowering to know that you can have a say in what happens to you when you may not be able to speak for yourself. This is why advance directives are so important. I firmly believe everyone should have an advance directive, and if you do not have one already – please go to this website.

At the request of the Bar Association I am sponsoring legislation to make it easier to fill out an advance directive – SB1242. This bill establishes criteria for training programs for qualified advance directive facilitators. No longer will a lawyer will be the only one who can assist with the preparation and filing of an advance directive. It allows a qualified facilitator to aid those to complete their own advance directives. Currently only a lawyer can help complete the process. I hope you will consider registering your own advance directive, and having these tough conversations with your family while you are healthy and well.

Have a wonderful weekend,

Siobhan