Health Matters: Preparing for the End of Life’s Journey

What happens when you can no longer make medical decisions for yourself?

It’s a hard conversation to have, but it can help make things easier for your loved ones when you reach the end of your life.

A Directive is a written document that lets your loved ones and physician know what decisions to make if you can no longer make decisions for yourself.

“Health Care Directives are for all of us, any age, to plan for our life’s journey,” said Casandra Vigesaa-Disse, an Oak’s Crossings Social Worker with Essentia Health. “So it helps ourselves and our families, as well as any of our physicians and nurses to know what our choices are when we get to that point where we can no longer make choices for ourselves.”

Different choices include organ donations and what kind of health care you want.

You have the option to pick someone to make those choices for you.

“If they do not know what their wishes are it can be very difficult for them to determine whether or not they should do life sustaining measures or if they should take a do not resuscitate route,” she explained.

Casandra says to first talk about it with your loved ones and see who would feel comfortable making those decisions.

“We strongly urge that they speak with their primary physician to inform them on their wishes because that will be documented as well as providing that copy,” she said. “We also state that you should have that information notarized. It makes it legal so the representative has that right.”

To make sure your wishes are carried out, it’s important that your health care provider has a copy.

Casandra recommends even keeping one on your refrigerator for emergencies.

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