Pacific Hospice believes that everyone has the right to determine what kind of care he or she will receive at the end of life.
We are dedicated to expanding the choices available to people with life-limiting illnesses, and to providing specialized expert care that focuses on enhancing comfort and overall quality of life, despite advancing illness. Personal choice is important when seeking information. It is important to consider patient values, to discuss their wishes, and to allow patients to exercise their choices in regard to end-of-life care.
One way to achieve these goals is through advance directives. Advance directives are legal documents written that allow patients to communicate their health care preferences to family and health care professionals, regardless of their medical condition. The term “advance directive” describes two types of legal documents that enable patients to plan for and convey their end-of-life wishes in the event they become unable to communicate: living will and medical power of attorney.
A living will defines the patient’s wishes about medical treatments, regardless of whether they are capable of expressing their medical treatment preferences.
Durable Power of Attorney
A durable power of attorney for health care decisions allows patients to name a proxy representative. This individual is authorized to advocate for the patient’s values and wishes when the patient is not able to speak on behalf of him or herself, because of illness, injury or debilitation.
To ensure that your wishes will be honored at the end of life, we encourage you to determine the best end-of-life care options available to you. Decide for yourself what kind of care you would want. Discuss your end-of-life wishes and choices with loved ones and your physician. Lastly, document these preferences. Early planning is the best thing you can do for yourself, and for your family and friends.
For additional resources about documenting preferences regarding end-of-life care, visit websites such as The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO). This website provides information about end-of-life care, advance directives, and living wills.
Another website that can be helpful for families is www.caringinfo.org, which provides a wide range of free materials about end-of-life care. For more information on advance-care planning and advance directives, call CaringInfo.org at 800-658-8898.