End-of-Life, News

Advance Care Directive, Mandate, Power of Attorney or Health Proxy

by Victoria Brewster, MSW

So, if you are like me-you have not written up an advance care directive/mandate for healthcare wishes should one become incapacitated, because…..well….we are young yet. But you know what, I should and everyone should.

None of us know when an incident can occur and someone else and someone will be put into the position to make decisions for us and you know what? We should be the ones deciding what we want, not a family member, medical professional, social worker, with our family, or the government.

Here in Quebec, it is called a mandate where elsewhere in Canada it is called Advance Care Directive or Living Will. In the states, the wording is different, but similar to Health Proxy or Living Will.

No matter what terminology is used, it is about you, the individual choosing and putting into writing your wishes should you be unable to verbalize them due to incapacitation, i.e., stroke, coma, concussion, Dementia……

This is where the individual decides if they want a feeding tube, respirator, dialysis, major surgery, intravenous hydration, cardiac resuscitation, antibiotics or other medications, blood transfusions, be kept alive if in a vegetative state or if one is palliative and terminal, and choose to donate their organs should one die.

This is not an easy subject to contemplate, discuss or put into writing, but do you want someone else to decide this for you?

I plan to complete this soon and have the option of having paperwork on file at my local hospital re: my decisions. Two witness sign it and I decide who my appointed proxy will be.

These decisions require some soul searching. The religion one practices or was brought up in, values and morals will all play a part. It requires a conversation with the self and possibly others.

Make sure to look into the laws and regulations in the state or province you are living in, as wording, terminology and what is legal varies. Also, choose wisely when it comes to the mandator or appointed proxy as you want them to accept and be comfortable with following through on what is written.

*First published at: http://www.socialjusticesolutions.org/2012/12/05/advance-care-directive-mandate-power-of-attorney-or-health-proxy/