Developing a solid estate plan is essential to protecting your assets. Estate plans can also help you make important health care decisions and communicate those decisions to family and medical staff. An essential part of a comprehensive estate plate is a living will.
A living will is a document that states your wishes and desires for end-of-life medical care. Living wills must include a lot of detail, so medical staff knows the right course of action to take. The Mayo Clinic explains what your living will should include, so the document communicates your wishes effectively.
If you cannot eat because of severe illness or injury, a feeding tube provides essential nutrition to keep you alive. The procedure entails surgically placing a tube into your stomach so you receive proper sustenance. You may decide you do not want a feeding tube at all, or that you only want the therapy for a certain period. If you choose the latter option, medical staff must remove the feeding tube when that amount of time has elapsed.
Palliative care does not heal or cure a patient. Instead, it is a set of therapies used to make the patient more comfortable in the time leading up to their death. This includes providing pain medications, discharging you from the hospital so you can spend your last days at home, and avoiding tests that cause discomfort when there is no chance of curing your condition.
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation and defibrillation
If your heart stops, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or defibrillation is used to revive it. CPR involves chest compressions directly over the heart, while defibrillation uses a device that delivers an electric shock to the heart to restart it. You may decide that you do not want any form of resuscitation, or that you only want it under certain circumstances (such as physical trauma caused by a car accident).
Ventilators assist the lungs in breathing when your body is unable. If you wish for mechanical ventilation, you can determine how long medical staff should use the device before stopping. You can also insist that staff use no mechanical ventilation under any circumstances.