by Erin Hotchkiss, Account Executive
As the campaign prepares for National Healthcare Decisions Day on April 16, two primary questions have been asked:
- What is an advance directive?
- What does it mean to complete an advance directive?
An advance directive, in its simplest form, is a document that expresses specific types of medical intervention you want at end-of-life. Perhaps most importantly, it allows you to elect a healthcare agent(s) that would speak for you
However, an advance directive is much more than checking off boxes and listing names.
It’s about taking responsibility for your body and ownership of your medical decisions. We can’t read people’s minds, no matter how much you think they know. That’s why choosing a healthcare agent is an essential step and requires an honest conversation. Your agent must be someone you trust to carry out your wishes, regardless of what they would want for you. An agent speaks for you when you cannot.
An advance directive prevents your family and friends from having to guess what kind of care you would want. The loss of a loved one is never easy, but documenting your healthcare choices can make the grieving process a little less difficult.
Now, when people ask what it’s “means” to complete an advance directive, I respond “how much time do you have?”
According to Pew Research, 75% Americans want to spend their last days at home, which could (and should) include hospice care. However, only 25% actually do. Interestingly, the large desire for palliative care suggests many prefer treatments that manage pain over the extraordinary measures of medical intervention.
Ann Neumann, author of The Good Death: An Exploration of Dying in America, notes that often, there is a “tipping point” with any sickness where extreme amounts of intervention “becomes more of a burden that the disease itself”.
Everyone has the right to determine where and how we want to spend life’s final moments. Be the director of your life and take control of your “The End” by completing an advance directive.
On April 16 in the Shewmaker Communication Center, Drury students and staff are invited to check off their +1 and notarize their advance directives. In addition to on-site notaries, Ann Neumann will join me on KDRU 98.1 at 11 a.m. to discuss the benefits of advance care planning and how challenges within the industry affect us all.
Donut Fear the Reaper and join us from 11 to 2 p.m. to celebrate your end-of-life choices! After your advance directive is notarized, decorate a delicious Decision Donut courtesy of Krispy Kreme.