ARTICLES / General /
Advance Directives /
Cheryl Ellis, Staff Writer
Trying to predict the future when diagnosed with
a debilitating illness leaves caregiver and
loved one with many, sometimes confusing,
Advance directives, such as a living will, can
provide families with some comfort.
There are online living wills that can be
printed, estate lawyers who help with end of life
planning through and designating a medical power of
either case, advance directives are meant to give the
loved one the ability to say what they prefer should
they be in a position where they are unable to speak for
Each state regulates their usage differently, and it is
important to know how your state utilizes them.
medical power of attorney allows the loved one to
designate a surrogate, or someone to speak on their
is vital that caregivers and loved ones discuss the
variations fully. Simply leaving it as “I know you’ll do what’s
best for me” can ultimately take the caregiver down a
path where “what’s best” and what the loved one would
want oppose one another.
Annie’s mother had been a registered nurse for years. Over time, her mother would often comment that
she wouldn’t want her daughter to be the surrogate.“You’ll just tell them to pull the plug.”
This was her mother’s communication style, direct
and uncensored. “I want them to do everything they can
to help me.” As her mother was always lucid about her
medical care, paperwork fell to the wayside. However, it seemed clear to the family what was
spare no course of action, and keep her attended.
Unfortunately, when her mother had to enter a nursing
home, her brother backed away from making any medical
Because she was in the medical field also, she knew the
protocol and language. What she didn’t expect were the options and how
their traditional definitions would change.
nursing home, there would be specific orders for pain
and other medication at intervals. There would be interventions that might solve one
health crisis but create others.“They would have put her at the end of the
nursing floor and allowed her to scream until they could
give her the next dose of medication.”Faced with a nursing home and it’s traditional
definition of “round the clock care,” Annie had to
consider another option.
A Possible Alternative
may be one alternative when advance directives fail. Compassionate end of life service allows the
caregiver to know necessities are being met without