Every adult should have a will, a healthcare proxy and an advanced medical directive or living will. But there’s no guarantee that when your final days come healthcare providers will follow your wishes. There are a number of reasons for this, but money is a big factor.
End-of-life care is a pot of gold in our modern medical system. Spending on Medicare beneficiaries in their last year of life accounts for about 25 percent of all Medicare spending. In 2011, Medicare spending was almost $554 billion ? 28 percent of which was spent during patients’ last six months of life, according to Kaiser Health News.
My father’s last days weren’t as good as they could have been. The doctors gave us mixed messages, leading us to believe that his life could be extended despite the obvious signs that his body was giving up. But ultimately it became undeniable. Thanks to his healthcare proxy I was able to talk to the doctors and because of his living will I was able to make the decision to switch him to comfort care knowing that was exactly what he wanted.
I was going to post something on this but ran across this site before I could do so. No matter how old you are, it’s time.
One of the impossible-to-ignore facts of life is that it ends. Despite this, we humans prefer not to talk about it much if ever. Which is fine, I suppose, at least until you or someone you love is suddenly faced with the end without having communicated exactly how you’d like the end of your life to happen. That’s why journalist Ellen Good co-founded The Conversation Project, to get people to communicate their end-of-life wishes long before they’re needed.
It’s not legal advice but it starts the process with you and those close to you about what your wishes are. You will still need a will, a living will and a healthcare proxy but this will help you make sure there’s someone besides your lawyer who knows what you want.
My dad made his wishes known and had all of his paperwork done back in 2007 when they moved back to Long Island. When the end approached it made it easier on me to make the decision to begin hospice care because I didn’t have to guess what his wishes were, they were written out for me.