3 things you should know about end-of-life planning

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It’s important to plan for the future, including making important decisions about our assets, end-of-life care, and healthcare decisions. One crucial aspect of this planning is engaging in Advance Care Planning (ACP), creating a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) and Advance Medical Directive (AMD). These legal documents and processes can ensure that our wishes are respected, and our loved ones are supported during a difficult time.

 

Advance Care Planning (ACP)

Advance Care Planning is an essential process for everyone, regardless of their age or health status. It helps you make important decisions about your medical care well in advance, so that your wishes can be respected in the event you’re unable to make decisions yourself. It is especially important for individuals with chronic illnesses or those who are approaching the end of their lives. ACP involves making decisions about the medical treatments you would prefer, the kind of end-of-life care you want, and who you would like to make decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated.

 

By creating an advanced care plan, you can reduce the burden on your loved ones, who may otherwise have to make difficult decisions about your care. It also helps avoid confusion and disagreement among family members about what your healthcare preferences are. Although this process may be difficult and emotional for some people, it is well worth it in the end, especially if it gives you peace of mind knowing that you have made your wishes known and taken control of your healthcare decisions.

 

Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)

A Lasting Power of Attorney is a crucial legal document that enables you to designate a trustworthy individual to make important decisions on your behalf in circumstances where you are unable to do so. This could relate to your financial matters, healthcare preferences or welfare arrangements. Without an LPA, your loved ones might confront a complicated and costly legal process to make any decisions for you. By creating an LPA, you can reclaim a sense of control and certainty over your life. It ensures that your wishes are carried out in a manner consistent with your values and preferences.

Most significantly, it can significantly alleviate the stress and worry that your loved ones might otherwise endure as they try to interact with various institutions and navigate the intricacies of the legal system. There are two kinds of LPA (Property and Financial Affairs LPA and Health and Welfare LPA), and it’s advisable to establish both to cover every aspect of your life.

 

Legal document

Advance Medical Directive (AMD)

An Advance Medical Directive is a legal document that outlines your preferences for medical treatment if you become unable to make decisions for yourself. It can include instructions for life-sustaining treatments, such as mechanical ventilation and artificial nutrition and hydration, and whether you would want to receive palliative care or hospice care if you have a terminal illness.

An AMD can give you peace of mind that your wishes will be respected and can help your loved ones make decisions on your behalf that align with your values and beliefs. It can also prevent unnecessary treatments and procedures that may not align with your wishes.

Advance Care Planning

Unlike the ACP, which is a process of communicating your medical wishes, beliefs and preferences, an AMD is a legal document that specifically informs the doctor that you do not want to use any life-sustaining treatment to artificially prolong your life, should death be imminent.

 

Conclusion

Preparing for the future is a process that requires careful consideration and planning. Creating a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), Advance Medical Directive (AMD), and engaging in Advance Care Planning (ACP) are important steps towards this process. These legal documents and processes play a vital role in safeguarding your needs and desires in situations where you may not be able to make decisions for yourself. They enable healthcare professionals and loved ones to make the right choices on your behalf and help support you in trying times (Figure 1).

 

EoL planning
Figure 1: Comparison of ACP, AMD, and LPA

Engaging in these legal processes is not only beneficial for you, but it’s also an act of love and compassion for your loved ones. By taking care of these important steps, you can gain peace of mind and avoid unnecessary stress, confusion, and money-related issues in the future. So, don’t wait until it’s too late, start preparing for the future today!

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