In recent months, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has made us more acutely aware of our mortality. In particular, those who are 65 years or older have been warned of their vulnerability to this virus. Additionally, people with preexisting conditions may have more severe symptoms and require hospitalization. As we continue to navigate this challenging time, it’s a good idea to think about our own preferences for medical treatments or intervention, should we become incapacitated or otherwise unable to communicate our wishes. Advance care planning allows you to articulate such wishes so that, should the time come, they will be known and respected.
What is Advance Care Planning?
Advance care planning is the process of exploring the various decisions that may need to be made about your medical or end-of-life treatment options. You’ll document your wishes in a document known as an advance directive, which activates once you become unable to communicate or convey your wishes. It’s important to recognize that an advance directive can be tweaked and revised as you age.
What Types of Decisions Will You Need to Make?
There are many kinds of decisions that you can explore, and they mostly deal with the use of emergency interventions or treatments that doctors can use to keep you alive. You can express your wishes as to whether or not you’d like doctors to use CPR, ventilators, artificial nutrition or hydration, and other types of measures if they become necessary. You may also decide whether or not you approve the use of comfort care interventions, such as pain medications, limits to medical tests, and other forms of treatment if you are on hospice or nearing death.
To Whom Should I Turn For Guidance?
It’s a good idea to initiate a conversation with your physician about these topics, just to get an idea of your specific situation. Perhaps you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure; your doctor may inform you that you could become susceptible to a stroke in the future, so you may want to have clear instructions in place if this happens. You should also reach out to a knowledgeable long term care planning or estate planning attorney who can help you understand your options for putting together a customized advance directive.
If you’ve decided that it’s time to think about protecting your future, the skilled and compassionate legal team at Legacy Law Group is ready to assist you. Call our Spokane Valley office today at (509) 315-8087 to get started with a dedicated advance care planning attorney.