This workbook provides detailed advice about preparing living wills and advance directives, with information about potential illnesses and medical events such as terminal illness, advanced cancer, coma, stroke, and dementia. The introduction of this document states: There’s only one person who is truly qualified to tell health care providers how you feel about different kinds of health care issues and that’s you. But, what if you get sick, or injured so severely that you can t communicate with your doctors or family members? Have you thought about what kinds of medical care you would want? Do your loved ones and health care providers know your wishes? Many people assume that close family members automatically know what they want. But studies have shown that spouses guess wrong over half the time about what kinds of treatment their husbands or wives would want. You can help assure that your wishes will direct future health care decisions through the process of advance care planning.
The workbook has two parts: Part I: The Basics. This section introduces and discusses all of the important components of advance care planning. You may find it provides enough information for you to figure out what you want and express your wishes to others. Part II: Resources. Turn to these sections for additional help and further explanation of ideas and topics introduced in The Basics. Two ways to use this book. Spend an hour working through The Basics. Then communicate. OR Work through The Basics. Take another hour or two to work through all or part of Resources for a more complete approach. Then communicate.
TABLE OF CONTENTS – Why do you need to think now about future health care decisions? Do you have strongly-held beliefs that should guide your care? If you couldn’t speak for yourself, what would you want done for you? Who will speak for me if I can t speak for myself? Common questions about choosing a spokesperson What else can I do to make my wishes known? Common questions about advance directives What situations and decisions do people commonly face? Dementia * Coma * Stroke * Terminal illness * Telling others what you want * Writing it down * What s next? Thought-provoking exercises – Your Beliefs and Values * Who should speak for me? * What makes your life worth living? * Personal and spiritual beliefs * Hope for recovery * Weighing pros and cons of treatment for different chances of recovery * Choices about death and dying * How would you like to spend your last days? * Organ donation and autopsy * Burial arrangements * Funeral or memorial services Health conditions and treatments Kidney dialysis * CPR-Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation * Feeding tubes * Mechanical ventilators (breathing machines) * Hospice and palliative care * Your health care preferences * Introduction – Care preferences under different health conditions * Current health * Permanent coma * Severe dementia * Severe stroke * Terminal illness * A future situation of concern * How to talk about your wishes * Starting the discussion * Asking someone to be your spokesperson * Who else should you talk to? * What if you don’t have close family or friends? * Nine important issues to discuss * Talking to your health care providers * Reviewing you wishes * Other issues * Legal and ethical issues of advance care planning
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