Health Beat - Summer 2020 - 14

Why Everyone
Should Have
an Advance
Directive
Make your wishes
known about endof-life care, and
then get back to
living By John Berggren

I

14

srhc.com

DLiving Will: A document
reality, having these discussions and
documenting these wishes can alleviate
a lot of the burden and stress for family
members. Advance directives only come
into play when patients can't speak for
themselves to voice their wishes."
Advance directives can be updated
as often as necessary and should be
revised to address changes in your life
as they occur. It's recommended that
copies of the documents be kept on file
with your primary care physician. It's
also wise to give copies to the person
you've assigned as your durable power
of attorney for healthcare, as well as to
close family members and friends.
Advance directives can be completed
without using the services of an attorney.
Many people use simple fill-in-the-blank
forms available through healthcare providers (see sidebar). The documents can
be signed and dated in the presence of
any notary public or in the presence
of two witnesses who are age 18 or older.
The witnesses may not be related to you
by blood, marriage or adoption, entitled
to your estate, or have a direct financial
responsibility for your healthcare.
"There should be no obstacle to
having advance directives," says Dena
Miller, care manager at Salina Regional
Health Center. "Any healthcare provider
can assist you." 1

that applies while you are
still living but unable to
express your wishes about
medical care when your
condition has been determined to be terminal.
DPatient Self Determination
form: A document that
details the types of care
your healthcare team should
provide if there is no hope
for significant recovery.
DDurable Power of Attorney
for Healthcare: A document
that designates a specific,
named person to make your
healthcare decisions if you
are incapacitated.
Find downloadable
forms to complete these
advance directives by going
to srhc.com and clicking on
"Patients and Visitors," and
then "Advance Directives."
Call 785-452-6713 to
speak with a member of
Salina Regional Health
Center's Care Management
team to walk you through
the process of forming
advance directives.

┬ęGETTY IMAGES

t's estimated that only 37 percent of
U.S. adults have advance directives
in place, documents that outline your
wishes if a health crisis should occur.
When an advance directive is not
available, it creates a complex situation
for care providers and family members
who may be tasked with making difficult
decisions. State law recognizes next-ofkin-such as a spouse, parent or adult
child-as the people who may be forced
to make care decisions in an emergency.
If no family members are available,
these choices may be left to a doctor.
As somber and unsettling as the
topic of end-of-life care may be, discussing it with loved ones or other
appropriate parties is the only way
to ensure your wishes are ultimately
carried out. You can document what
you want with documents such as a living will or a patient self determination
form, which outline your healthcare
preferences if you cannot communicate for yourself. You may also assign
a durable power of attorney for healthcare decisions, which is someone you
trust to make decisions for you if you
are incapacitated.
"We seem to be willing to talk about
every part of life except death," says
Stephanie Sherode, a social worker at
the Tammy Walker Cancer Center. "In

3 Types of
Advance
Directives


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Health Beat - Summer 2020

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