While the choices you make should reflect your wishes, remember that you are not the only person they will affect. It is important that any person approaching the end of their life make their wishes known to avoid unwanted, unnecessary, uncomfortable, and expensive medical care, including unwarranted resuscitation. However, you must consider and discuss how your family feels about these wishes.
It is impossible to predict every circumstance, so do the best you can and update your plan as things change. These measures only serve as a guideline for others when you are unable to express your wishes. As long as you are able to do so, your current requests will overrule any previous request. It is as important to speak up about your current care as it is to anticipate what care you want if you are unable to choose. Make sure your primary care physician and health care proxy have updated copies and destroy the old ones.
Checklist of Documents
- Advanced Directives/Living Will
- Disposition of Remains
- DNR order
- Healthcare Proxy/Healthcare Power of Attorney
- Organ donation
- POLST, or state-specific equivalent