Completing my own Advance Directive—and Living to Tell the Tale Part 2 of 3 by Larry Beresford
As highlighted in Completing my own Advance Directive—and Living to Tell the Tale Part 1 of 3: In the end I went for the DPOA and named Rose as my agent, but it still felt incomplete. So I decided to write an addendum- an attached advisory outlining my values as best I could express them and what would be most important to me regarding medical treatments and decision-making.
Reading it 13 years later, I can see the influence of my experience in hospice care, both as a writer and a patient care volunteer. I still feel the same way about these issues, so I can’t say the experience of planning for my death was a waste of time. Here are my nine values as I wrote them in 1998:
- To know the fullest and most complete truth about my medical condition and prospects.
- To have an opportunity to find peace, understanding and closure at the end of life.
- To receive all reasonable and appropriate comfort care measures when I am terminally ill, and to be kept clean, dry and warm.
- To NOT be maintained on ventilators or other physically invasive therapies unless they offered a reasonable chance of restoring me to a better state of health and functioning.
- To not be a severe, prolonged caregiving burden to my wife or family. If I become so, I would want them to consider alternative placement.
- Otherwise, I would like to be at home to the greatest extent feasible during a life-threatening illness.
- If I lose the ability to communicate or interact with and to recognize my loved ones (such as from advanced Alzheimer’s disease), I would not want medical measures to prolong my life, even antibiotics. But in the meantime, I would like full comfort measures and to be housed in a comfortable nursing facility with a rich activities program.
- I do not believe in and would not want euthanasia or assisted suicide, unless my suffering was obvious, extreme, relentless, long-lasting and untreatable. In that case, I would appeal to my family’s best judgment.
- Most of all, I want everyone involved in my care to be as honest and realistic and reasonable as they can be.
What instigated me to begin this journey of advance care planning at a young age and prior to personally experiencing serious illness? Find out in Completing my own Advance Directive—and Living to Tell the Tale Part 3 of 3. (Scheduled to be featured Friday March 11, 2011)
Please consider sharing your experience to help the public understand the importance of advance care planning.