Speak for yourself before you can’t.
Tools for Seriously or Terminally Ill Individuals
There are several tools that are extremely useful for individuals with a serious or terminal illness. Knowing these tools can help avoid confusion in emergencies.
What is an Advance Directive?
An advance directive is a written document outlining your healthcare wishes, goals, values, and preferences for future medical care… regardless of your age or stage of health. Also known as a Living Will, it allows you to appoint someone to speak for you if you become unable to speak for yourself.
Anyone 18 or older should consider creating an Advance Directive. It can be modified throughout your life. In fact, you should review your Advance Directive every five to ten years, or sooner if your health changes.
The best time to create your Advance Directive is when you are healthy and of sound mind. It is not recommended to complete it during an emergency or crisis situation.
People often gain a sense of control after completing their Advance Directive. Knowing you documented your future medical treatments helps avoid unwanted/unnecessary care. Plus, it’s a gift for your loved ones who can take comfort in knowing that they are honoring your wishes.
It is important to provide a copy of your Advance Directive to your Health Care Agent, loved ones, physicians, specialists and the admissions staff if you are going to the hospital. Some people also provide a copy to their lawyer and financial planner.
DMOST / POLST
The Delaware Medical Orders for Scope of Treatment (DMOST), Pennsylvania Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (PAPOLST), or more generically the Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST) are portable medical orders signed by both a patient and their physician. They clearly state the patient’s specific wishes for medical treatment at the end of life, based upon a detailed conversation between the patient and physician. The form should be updated regularly as health conditions change.
In Delaware, the DMOST form stays with the patient at all times, often in a provided pink envelope.
This information is just a starting point to help you plan ahead for life’s foreseeable and unforeseeable medical emergencies. It isn’t a suitable substitute for professional, medical, or legal advice.
We are here to walk you through the process, connect you with the appropriate resources, and help you consider your advance planning options.
Additional Resources to Help You Get Started
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It’s challenging to take these steps alone. Reach out to us so you don’t have to. We’ll support you in your journey and connect you to the resources you need along the way.