MyDirectives: Make your medical wishes known!

What You Need to Discuss With Your Family and Friends

Even if you’re not dealing with a life-limitng illness, an accident or injury could occur at any time. That’s why it’s such a good idea to talk through end-of-life decisions before a crisis arises.

An advance directive is a document that gives your doctors and family guidance in how to care for you when you cannot speak for yourself or make your wishes known to them.

Unless we’re living with illness, we tend to avoid the subject or think it doesn’t pertain to us. But imagine that you are young and healthy one minute, and the next minute there’s a car accident and you’re on life support.

Suddenly, a doctor is asking your family to make hard decisions. Talking with your family now lets them know what you would want done.

Here are some things to ask yourself and then discuss with your family ahead of me:

Do you want to be kept alive on machines as long as possible, or to be allowed to die as gently as possible?

Answering questions like this is not easy, and the “right” answer will depend on your exact medical condition at the time. That’s why you appoint a healthcare agent, so someone who knows you well is on your side making these decisions when you cannot make them yourself.

When talking with your healthcare agent about the responsibilities of their role, can bring clarity out of chaos.

Here are some things to discuss ahead of time:

•Would you be available to talk to doctors to understand the treatment options avail


Would you be able to visit me often enough to understand my condition?

• Can you ask tough questions of doctors and caregivers and make decisions based on the wishes expressed in my advance directive?

It’s important to tell your family and healthcare agent about your treatment goals when you are not expected to recover.

What things would be important to you at the end of your life?

Being free from pain; being with family; being able to care for yourself; being at peace with your God; resolving conflicts. Not being a burden to your family, physical, emotional, or financial burden

What are your feelings about donating your organs to save a life?

These are just a few things but it will get you started. It's an important conversation - don't put it off any longer.