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LIVE YOUR LIFE WITH CANCER - PRACTICAL /// CHAPTER 80
Directive to Physicians and Family or
Surrogates (Living Will)
Often known as a Living Will, this form is a road map to
your medical team, family, and other supporters regarding
your wishes for the end of life, should you be unable to
communicate them yourself. You are asked when facing
terminal or irreversible conditions whether you would want
to continue all life-sustaining interventions to prolong
life regardless of quality or to prioritize quality of life and
discontinue life-sustaining treatments that will not cure the
terminal or irreversible condition.
Some questions to ask yourself:
» What experiences have you had with a loved one or
close friend who faced decisions about a life-sustaining
treatment and what did you learn from that?
» When would I want life-sustaining treatment and under
what circumstances would I want it stopped?
» What do the terms, a good life, or living well, mean to
me at this point in my life?
Medical Power of Attorney
Perhaps one of the most important decisions to be made
in the advance care planning process is choosing a health
care advocate, also known as a medical power of attorney.
This person is legally empowered to carry out health care
wishes and decisions when you are no longer able to do so.
Some questions to ask a potential advocate:
» Do you understand my wishes, values, and treatment
goals?
» Are you willing to follow my preferences even if others
disagree?
» Can you uphold my wishes even if others challenge my
decisions?
Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) Order
For some, when facing a terminal condition such as cancer
that has spread or an irreversible condition such as a lifealtering
stroke, they with their medical team identify that
if their hearts were to stop, they would not want to have
resuscitation, or CPR, attempted. They recognize it would
not cure their condition and may prolong their suffering.
This does not mean do nothing. The order only addresses
resuscitation and all other care will continue as prescribed.
If you are admitted to the hospital, the DNR order is actually
written by a physician, instructing all the staff to respect
your wishes. If discharged from the hospital, you can fill
out an " Out-of-hospital DNR " that will instruct Emergency
Responders of your wishes if you are unable to speak for
yourself.
Your Will
In addition to documenting your medical decisions, you
may want to create a will, a financial document that states
what you want to happen to your money, possessions,
and children after you die. Every healthy person over 18
should make a will, not just people with cancer. You will
have to get legal advice to create one. Some agencies will
assist with this process for free. Ask your social worker for
guidance on where to create a will.
RESOURCES
Triagecancer.org
http://www.Triagecancer.org https://fwaya.org/

What Do I Do Now?

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