Advance Directives are decisions that you make concerning care at end of life. Examples include Living Wills and Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare.
A Living Will outlines the care you would want if you were terminally ill and unable to speak for yourself. A Durable Power of Attorney also outlines your wishes for care and it allows you to select someone to speak for you and make decisions when you are not able.
A recent study by LifeCircle South Dakota called "Dying to Know" discovered that while 89 percent of South Dakotans surveyed were comfortable with the topic of death less than 6 percent of them had approached the subject with their physicians and only 35 percent had completed advance directives.
Respondents also felt that a physician or clergy person should initiate the conversation about end of life.
Without the discussion of what we would want … and not want for medical care at the end of our life we are leaving our families and healthcare providers in the dark. If you are unable to speak for yourself, and your wishes are not known it is possible that you will receive treatment that you never would have considered.
Ninety percent responded to the survey saying they would not want to be on machines at the end of their life. Without communicating that information who would know?
The first step to making a good advance directive is to gather information. You may need to talk with your family, your physician and your clergy.
This information session will answer some of the nuts and bolts questions about where to obtain the right forms, how to fill them out, what questions to ask your physician, how to select a spokesman and where to place your completed information. There will be time allowed for questions and discussion.
Holly Hoing – Countryside Hospice, Inc., will facilitate the discussion and provide copies of the new Advance Directive brochure. For more information, call Carol Lavin at (605) 638-8480.