Wednesday, April 29, 2015
A healthcare emergency that makes the ability to communicate wishes for care can come on suddenly for both the elderly and the young. However, many individuals over age 65 do not have an advance directive, and the numbers are even lower for 18 to 29-year-olds at 7 percent. Even with an advance directive, more is needed to adequately prepare a plan for future.
A Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) can assist in giving directions for care preferences and is more detailed than a DNR, but is not available in all states. Having all needed information consolidated and easily accessible before a heath emergency can ensure that the expressed wishes will get to those who need them. This can be done by creating a ready to go packet that is kept by the front door and includes all relevant documents and contact information for family and physicians. Additionally, the My Health Care Wishes app can assist with document sharing between family members.
See Speak for Yourself, While You're Able, Washington Post, Apr. 28, 2015.
Special thanks to Naomi Cahn (Harold H. Greene Professor of Law, George Washington University School of Law) for bringing this article to my attention.