Imagine that you are unconscious and unable to speak for yourself. Decisions need to be made about medical treatments to prolong your life. How would your loved ones feel about having to make these decisions? Would they know what you want?
Those who have faced this situation can tell you how hard it is. They will also tell you how much they wish they knew what their loved one wanted. This is the reason for our project promoting advance directives.
An advance directive named “CRITICAL Conditions” aims to help relieve families of this uncertainty. CRITICAL Conditions encourages people to decide ahead of time what kind of medical care they wish to receive if there comes a time they’re unable to communicate their wishes. Additionally, CRITICAL Conditions encourages those decisions be communicated to loved ones and health care providers.
According to recent studies, nearly one-third of terminally ill patients prefer not to be resuscitated, but their doctors frequently do not know this. Half of patients able to communicate in the last three days of life said they were in severe pain. Improving the end of life experience for people in our community requires communication between everyone involved.
CRITICAL Conditions facts:
Expresses an individual’s wishes for medical treatment and appoints a person to make health care decisions in the case where the individual becomes unable to to make decisions.
Similar to a combined Living Will and Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care.
Allows the individual to select a person (health care agent) to make health care decisions for the individual, if the individual becomes incapacitated or is temporarily unable to make decisions (e.g. during surgery and recovery).
Describes the individual’s wishes in terms of life-support, extraordinary medical treatment, and care which artificially or technologically postpones death.
Allows for a natural death process, if that is what the individual wishes. It is highly recommended that everyone have an advanced directive because it takes most of the burden off of the family and makes decisions easier for everyone.
Needs to be created for a person while they’re still competent. The time is now; before any unfortunate circumstances occur.
The Healthcare Partnership provides free copies of CRITICAL Conditions. Get one today by calling 706.272.6662. Also, Hamilton Medical Center’s chaplain, Ken Waddell, provides free advance directive consultations. For more information or to make an appointment call 706.217.2015. Keep the original Health Care Directive at home and give copies to your doctor, health care agent, hospital, relatives, and attorneys.