Thursday, July 23, 2009

The ultimate in preparedness: Creating an advance directive

Let’s say you and your family have fully prepared for all public health threats, be they disasters, pandemic flu or something yet to come. You’re up-to-speed on threats and have an emergency preparedness kit, communications plan and evacuation plan — you’ve even planned for protecting your pets. (You go, you preparedness superstar, you!) But wait: Are you and your family prepared for the ultimate worst-case scenario?

Even with the best of preparations, there’s a chance for life-threatening injuries, illness or even death during a public health threat. (Yikes.) Although it’s a scary subject that many of us avoid thinking about, it’s an important part of your emergency preparations.

Our advice? The best way to prepare for a life-threatening situation is to create what’s known as an “advance directive.” In case you’ve been bonked on the head or otherwise incapacitated and can’t speak up for yourself, an advance directive spells out the way your medical decisions should be handled. Everyone 18 and older should have an advance directive — which includes you, our beloved uber-prepared Get Ready blog readers.

So what should be in your advance directive? Experts recommend that you have a living will that specifies whether you’d want life-prolonging measures such as feeding tubes and ventilators if incapacitated. It’s also good to have “medical power of attorney,” which is a fancy way of naming a person who can make medical decisions for you if you are out of it. Your wishes on resuscitation and organ donation should also be in your advance directive. (Make sure your donation registration is up-to-date!)

Other tips? Check your state laws to make sure your advance directive complies with regs, keep your directive current as your life changes, and share your directive with your doctors, attorney and family. Look online for forms that you can use for creating your directive and getting started.

After all, there is an end in sight for each and every one of us one day. Creating an advance directive now means that you can go out on your own terms: Think of it as the ultimate in preparedness.

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1 comment:

winglymo said...

Yeah, kinda a downer subject, but a good reminder. Thnx