Tough choices on your health start today

  • Article by: BRIAN RANK, PENNY WHEELER,and STEVEN CONNELLY
  • Updated: April 15, 2012 - 7:57 PM

Too few people have advanced-care directives to guide decisions.

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comment229Apr. 16, 12 6:25 AM

I understand and respect the concept and message this article tries to relate; to a point. The average American can try to put their wishes in writing, but I suspect your health insurance company, a lawyer, a judge or a politician is going to have more say in what is going to happen in the event of a catastrophic illness. A few years ago, a friend of mine, who had catastrophic health insurance, which limited his access in our great America, to health care. He eventually had enough problems to require seeing a doctor and of course, got the worst news. Instead of choosing to fight his illness, he decided enough, and within a few weeks, he succumbed. Simply, he refused to jump through the hoops and interventions outlined in this article. He refused to put his family through more grief than needed, and died with dignity. Many people who have not reached the age of medicare, and are in that twilight zone, have this thinking now, including myself. Those that criticize Obamacare; do you have a better alternative? I didn't think so. As for the negativity associated with Obamacare, it is a half truth. Some people don't like Obamacare because it did NOT go far enough but that fact never gets reported.

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CarolynKApr. 16, 12 8:06 AM

Advanced-care directives are one of the most caring things people can do for their families. Before making judgments against them, please discuss them with your primary care physician or a member of his / her team. As a retired nurse, I've seen too much stress going on in the lives of family members who've had to deal with undecided things when a relative dies. We'll all die one day, so advanced-care directives are appropriate for all of us. Mine is on file at HCMC, and each of my two sons and my pastor have copies. This makes me feel very very good.

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FrankLApr. 16, 12 8:11 AM

The common urge for people is to live a s long as possible, but many times it becomes you are existing, not living. That revelation only occurs once you or a loved one spends time in a nursing home where there is no hope of recovery. Most people only experience nursing homes during recovery and rehab, where you see a light at the end of the tunnel. Thus, most people don't have a care directive, because they have no idea how bad life can be.

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pdxtranApr. 16, 12 8:45 AM

comment229: Exactly right. All the scare stories about "death panels" were actually about urging people to make their wishes known. It's the Health Care Directive that nursing homes routinely have new patients or, in the case of dementia patients, the person with their power of attorney, are already asked to fill out. It asks what the nursing home should do if the patient develops a life-threatening condition. And some people do choose not to be treated, either because they feel that they've lived a good life and it has to end some time anyway or because they don't want to bankrupt their families.

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theagonybhoApr. 16, 1212:13 PM

pdxtran, death panel talk was when and if there were ever socialized medicine, every country that has it taxes its people about 50% and thier still going broke. There not called death panels but when u need catastrophic coverage, decisions are made based on your age and cost.

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twspt7Apr. 16, 12 4:45 PM

@theagonybho "death panel talk was when and if there were ever socialized medicine, every country that has it taxes its people about 50% and thier still going broke" You do realize that we have had socialized medicine for decades, don't you? You do realize that the US is the only 1st world country where it's citizens can be bankrupted by medical expenses, and that fully 1/3 of personal US bankruptcies are because of medical costs? And you do realize the current US healthcare system adds significantly to the cost of US products, leaving this country at a competitive disadvantage globally? You do realize that, while we do not have the European model of "socialized" healthcare delivery, the US federal government, and many state governments, are going broke with the status quo? And finally, you do realize that ACA will lower that overall costs of healthcare delivery, both to the individual AND to the government?

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nickmoApr. 17, 12 9:58 AM

Advanced-care directives are wonderful things for families and medical care providers. For those that have advanced-care directives, how do you provide the information to the health care provider? When I completed my advanced-care directive I asked if there was a short version that could be carried in my wallet? Blank looks were received from the medical professionals. Not only are advanced-care directives important but an ID card sized document to provide the directive to health care professionals that can be carried in a purse or wallet is needed.

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RMLacy51Apr. 17, 12 2:10 PM

nickmo - I made two copies of my Health Care Directive - both were notorized, and I gave my doctor one copy to keep in my file at his clinic.

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guessagainApr. 17, 12 4:54 PM

RMLacy51: "nickmo - I made two copies of my Health Care Directive - both were notorized, and I gave my doctor one copy to keep in my file at his clinic." I routinely provide four notarized originals of Health Care Directives to my clients: One for my files (in case others can't be located), one for the client's doctor, one for the client, and, most importantly, one for the named health care agent who can easily access it in the middle of the night, if circumstances require.

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