How Do I Create a Living Will and Testament?
If you or someone you love has a terminal illness, a living will and testament is your legal resource. Living wills and end-of-life documents are there to tell your loved ones that your wishes alone are still the priority and they need not follow every single decision you make. Death is a process and your loved ones should have time to acknowledge, adjust, and heal from their sudden loss.
Both medical and healthcare professionals can help you create a living will and testament. A living will is a carefully written, objective statement about your personal preferences about your death, whether it be in a nursing home, assisted living facility, or somewhere else that you prefer. Once you’ve decided upon your preferences and outlined your wishes, your trusted healthcare provider can then assist you in writing a document that is legally binding.
When you begin to discuss your terminally ill desires, you want to be as clear as possible so that the healthcare professional can easily and immediately take care of your medical needs and choices. You should be aware that you and your loved ones must be completely honest about your diagnosis and medical situation. Caregivers must be informed, and you have the right to be comfortable sharing your personal feelings with your family. Make sure that this includes the type of treatment that you want and do not want during your final days.
Medical and healthcare professionals will develop an individualized plan for your care after your diagnosis. It is essential that you are aware of your options so that you have knowledge of what is available to you as well as to your loved ones. While you understand how your health is progressing, a living will and testament is also an opportunity to consider alternatives to your current medical plan.
Some people choose to involve family members in their plans, while others choose to leave the decision up to a designated agent such as a guardian or appointed guardian. You may want to follow the wishes of your family, but if they choose not to be involved, you need to know your rights and how to properly honour them. If you are at peace with your diagnosis and do not want to be sent to a nursing home or assisted living facility, then keep your wishes clear, specific, and straightforward.
You can give your family members the freedom to seek out other avenues of care without becoming upset, caught up, or feeling pressured. Remember that your loved ones want to honour your wishes as you want to honour you. Even though you know you don’t want to be put into a nursing home, your family needs to know that your wishes are your choices and that you’d like to be treated differently.
Not having a terminal illness does not mean that you are not going to have a significant part of your life impacted by your diagnosis. Your legal resource is a valuable asset in helping to give your family the freedom to discuss your choices and make decisions on your behalf. In most cases, caregivers can have a say in which healthcare professionals will provide care during your final days, as well as the alternatives they may offer to the current medical practice.
You may feel uncomfortable about requesting that your family or caregivers not talk to your healthcare provider before they have examined you. However, your healthcare provider will have had time to work with your family, and they already have a working relationship with most medical professionals. They can make recommendations to doctors regarding the care you want, as well as the best treatments that are available.
Even after you have expressed your wishes to your doctor, and your doctors have delivered their recommendation, you may still want to address the matter of treatment and care with informal family discussions. Ask your family members what they want you to do, what they’d like to do, and why they want you to do it.
Do not feel pressured to follow the recommendations of your medical professionals. Sometimes your loved ones may not be able to understand your wishes, especially if your health has deteriorated. In these situations, it’s okay to listen to them and ask questions as they explain their own personal experiences.
Most importantly, you need to be clear about your wishes so that you can honour them, and so that you can be aware of what your family members want. that are also compatible with your wishes. Doctors are most effective when they are available when they’re open and honest.
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