Advanced Directives: The Most Important Conversation Of Your Life

 

African American family talking at kitchen table“If anything should happen to you while in the hospital, whether your heart stops or you can’t breathe, would you like everything done: CPR where we press on your chest, a tube placed down your throat to help you breathe, and/or medicines to help your heart work better?”

These questions, known as advanced directives, are asked to every individual both young and old who are admitted to a hospital. Some patients who are asked their advanced directives are prepared and know exactly what they want in life-threatening situations. However, many patients are shocked by the thought of these questions. Some patients have never discussed their wishes for emergent situations or end-of-life care. These individuals are at risk of having things done to them in the hospital that they may not want.

It can be scary to think about and stressful for not only you, but your family as well. Studies have found that when family members have to make medical decisions for a loved one, the most common negative effects are stress when making decisions, guilt over the decisions made, and doubt regarding whether they had made the right decisions.

So what can you do now to prevent additional stress to your family while making sure you get the treatments you want at the time you need?

Here are a few tips to document your advance directives.