By: Dr. Sassy Sasson, DSW, LCSW
Advance Directives can be invaluable tools when planning for the future. Documents such as: Health Care Proxy (HCP), Do Not Resuscitate Order (DNR), Do not Intubate Order (DNI) and a Living Will enable the individual to delineate his or her wishes. The process of completing advance directives allows the individual to have control over end-of-life decisions such as life-sustaining interventions, artificial nutrition and hydration, cardiac resuscitation, medications, chemotherapy, radiation etc. Alternatively, when the individual loses his/ her capacity to make decisions, a health care agent can be appointed in advance to make these decisions. In fact, the Patient Self-Determination
Act requires that health care facilities such as hospitals, nursing homes, home care agencies, adult day care programs and other facilities provide information to their patients. The ultimate goal is to increase the patient autonomy in making informed decisions and obtaining the care they wish to receive. End-of-life decisions are difficult to make and can be affected by the values and belief system of the individual, knowledge and personal experience confronting this subject, illness prognosis, trust, religious and ethnic background, rules and regulations and the availability of health care services.
We welcome the opportunity to discuss these challenging issues with you or your loved one, while developing a plan that addresses the multiple issues you currently face as his/ her caregiver. We will help you complete all the necessary forms and distribute them among your health care providers. Please feel free to contact us to discuss.