Seven out of 10 Americans say they would prefer to die at home on their own terms, according to The Kaiser Family Foundation/The Economist Four-Country Survey of Aging and End-of-Life Medical Care. Equally important, however, 54 percent say that making sure their family is not burdened financially by their care, as reported in Views and Experiences with End-of-Life Medical Care in the U.S.
Resources for Advance Care Planning
Taking time to thoughtfully create an advance care plan while you are healthy will allow you to make the most informed choices about your future wishes. There are several documents that make up an advance care plan:
- An advance directive or living will allows you to record your wishes for medical care and treatment at the end of life. Before it can be used to make decisions on your behalf, two physicians must certify that you are unable to make those determinations for yourself.
- A health care proxy or medical power of attorney is used to document who you want to make choices for you in the event you are unable to speak for yourself. Your physician would have to certify that you aren’t able to make your own decisions before the proxy can be utilized. If you recover your decision-making capabilities, the medical power of attorney will be suspended.
The laws surrounding advance care planning are different in every state. The National Hospice and Palliative Care Association maintains a directory of links to the necessary documents for each state. Pennsylvania residents will find Planning for Important Health Care Decisions to be of help. The Maryland Advance Directives guide provides similar information.
Another document that can be helpful is Five Wishes, a legal advance care planning document that is easy to use and understand and is written in everyday language with the goal of helping people discuss and document their wishes. Five Wishes meets the legal requirements of 42 states across the country including both Pennsylvania and Maryland.
Please contact us to learn more about how our hospice services can help you.