Making Your Medical Wishes Known

(WOWT)
Published: Jun. 6, 2017 at 10:13 AM CDT
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You never know when a health crisis will happen. Still only one-third of Americans have filled out necessary paper work to make sure their medical wishes are known. Medical experts at Fremont Health want to change that. In this month's Health Check Serese Cole tells us why - we should all get our our medical affairs in order.

"Connie Peters, "I knew I was headed down,"

When Connie Peters health started to decline - she made some important decisions. First, she moved into a 24-hour care facility.

"I just couldn't take care of myself any more," Peters admitted.

She also made her medical wishes known.

"I think a lot of people put if off until either the very last minute or sometimes until it's too late," said Fremont Health's Ashley Fisher.

Ashley Fisher is a Medical Social Worker and says we all need to plan ahead.

"People feel it's something you don't do until you're in your later years. And doing it in your 20's, 30's 40s - that's the time," Fisher said.

"There are three advance directives we should fill out - beginning with a Living Will. It allows you to be very specific about what you want -or what you don't - medically," said Serese Cole.

"Do I want artificial nutrition and hydration? Do I want to be on dialysis? Am I comfortable living in a vegetative state? " Fisher explained.

You should also have a Durable Power of Attorney for Health care.

"You name at least one person to make your decisions for you. If you can't make them anymore," she explained. For Example, "When there's a dementia diagnosis or an obvious vegetative state."

And you'll need a Financial Power of Attorney - someone who can manage your finances in case you no longer can. Filling these out these forms avoids confusion and chaos.

"I've seen families end up in court trying to decide who is going to be the decision makers - maybe one person thinks that they know what mom or dad or grandma or grandpa wanted more than the other. So it's just super frustrating," Fisher stated.

Connie doesn't want that for her daughters.

"I just know that all they would do is fight, and they'd never come to a decision on what was what. So we put a kaput to it - and that's it. What I say goes and we're done. It was that easy," Connie said.

Now she can focus on her family and her health.

"I can live my life here - not having to get up every morning and worry," Connie said.

And…. have a little peace of mind.

"It's just it's a relief,"

Once you fill out your Advanced Directives, Fisher suggests making several copies. Your doctors, hospitals and anyone else involved with your health care like family, friends and clergy should have a copy.