LANCASTER, Ohio (April 15, 2013) – April 16 is National Healthcare Decisions Day—a day dedicated to encouraging people to make decisions about their future healthcare by completing their advance directives. Advance directives are legal documents that let your loved ones and care providers know your healthcare wishes if you are unable to communicate them.
“Informing your loved ones about your future healthcare decisions means that your wishes can be met,” said Cynthia Pearsall, chief nursing officer at FMC. “Without advance directives, your loved ones must make those tough decisions and live with those decisions for the rest of their lives.”
Advance directives include living wills, healthcare power of attorney and do not resuscitate orders. A living will lets your healthcare providers and loved ones know what type of interventions you do and do not want to have done to sustain life, such as breathing machines and tube feeding. A durable healthcare power of attorney allows you to name someone to make healthcare decisions in your place when you are unable to make those decisions. The do-not-resuscitate order informs family and providers about your wishes for being resuscitated.
Research shows that most people in the U.S. do not have advance directives. The goal of National Healthcare Decisions Day is to educate people about advance directives and encourage them to make those decisions for themselves.
“Everyone over the age of 18 should have their advance directives completed,” Pearsall said. “When a person does not have advance directives, his or her family must make healthcare decisions without the knowledge about what their loved one would want.”
If you are interested in finding out more information about advance directives, call (740) 687-8555. Forms for advance directives are available at fmchealth.org.
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