It is common for people not to establish a living will. This is either because they believe they are too young to need one, do not understand how they work, or just do not want to think about end-of-life issues. Despite this, there are many compelling reasons to make the effort to create a living will that clarifies your wishes regarding treatment if you become incapacitated, regardless of your age or health.
What Is a Living Will?
A living will, also known as a medical directive or health care declaration, is a legal document used to inform medical professionals as well as your family members of your desired course of treatment in case you become incapable of communicating your wishes due to illness or injury.
Why Do You Need a Living Will?
Living wills are essential because they allow you to exercise your constitutional right to accept or refuse certain forms of medical treatment. Because you must be considered of sound mind and physically able to communicate those wishes during emergencies, creating a living will while you are still able to communicate is essential. Depending on your state, certain treatments may not be allowed in a living will, so it is important to work with a legal professional or other experts to create this important document.
What Circumstances Can a Living Will Cover?
1. Protects You When You Can No Longer Communicate
A living will ensures that your wishes are protected if you are incapacitated and unable to communicate. Without a living will, doctors or your family members will likely decide how to treat you, and they may not follow the same course of action as you would. If you create a living will, be sure to give a copy to your doctors and your loved ones, so they know what you wish.
2. Takes the Burden of Heavy Decisions off Family Members
Making decisions about your treatment when you are incapacitated suddenly can be a very stressful experience for your family members. They are dealing with the shock of your condition as well as the dilemma of your treatment. Having a living will also give you control over what medical treatments and procedures take place if you are incapacitated. In this situation, a living will instructs doctors to fulfill your wishes in writing. This way you take the burden of this decision out of your family member’s hands.
3. Reduces Unwanted Medical Bills
During an extended medical state such as a coma or vegetative state, a living will is particularly useful. Many individuals indicate that they would rather die than be on life support for decades. In addition to having a very poor quality of life, life support can result in a lot of medical bills that your family might not be able to pay. You should therefore specify your wishes for treatment in a living will.
Talk With Hospice of the Piedmont About the Importance of a Living Will
Hospice of the Piedmont is here to care for patients and families throughout their final chapter of life. As experts on end-of-life care, we can explain the importance of this document and answer any questions you have about how to create one and what to include.
Have questions or ready for the next steps? We’re here to help. Contact us online, or by calling toll-free at 1 (800)-975-5501