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Guidelines In Making A Living Will
How you would like to be cared for in the event of permanent unconsciousness or end-of life situations is not the most comfortable topic to discuss. However, it is necessary. In case it does happen, how would your doctor know whether you want to be resuscitated? Or be on life support? Or be artificially fed? There is no other way of knowing than reading your living will. But making a living will is a critical process; after all, it expresses what kind of medical care you want or donít want to receive in case your are unable to communicate it.
States have differing laws and standards to follow in making a living will, so it pays to know what are instituted in your state. Yet, there are general guidelines that can help you. They are the following:
Think about your medical wishes
In specific terms, outline what types of treatment and procedure you would like to undergo, under what circumstances, and for how long. For example, you can detail that you want to be on mechanical ventilation if there are chances of survival. But if beyond recovery, you refuse to be on any type of support that artificially prolongs your life. Be specific as you can. Your living will is perhaps one document you wish to never use, but even then, you need to make your living will as clear as possible; otherwise, your loved ones will be left guessing, and misinterpretations will not be impossible.
Talk to your doctor
Explain your medical wishes to your doctor and make sure he understands them. This will avoid the possibility of misinterpretations and conflicts that may arise when you use your living will. Also, this will allow your doctor to give input and explain the implications of your medical wishes.
Involve your family
Your family needs to be informed of your preferences, so they will know exactly what to do in case you become incapacitated. Many family tensions result from making medical decisions, and you donít want that to happen among your family members. As early as now, let them understand how you want to be taken care of. Itís possible that your medical wishes would face opposition, but listen to your familyís opinions and consider their inclusion in your living will.
Have a living will form
You can get if from your stateís health department, hospital, aging agency, or certain websites. Complete the form. Add other details in case the form doesnít cover certain medical wishes you have. You can also work with a lawyer to guide you through the process and discuss with you the legal implications of your living will. In some states, however, the assistance of a lawyer is sometimes unnecessary. Based on your state law, have it notarized or witnessed. Then, distribute copies to your family and close friends, doctor, and lawyer.
Keep your living will properly
After making a living will, make sure to properly keep it in your files or somewhere it would be quickly found if needed. Some people like to keep it in a safe-deposit box, which is not advisable, as doing so would make it hard to retrieve.
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