Before funerals at funeral homes in Elmira, NY, there are several end-of-documents that we need to have in place so that our medical wishes are known, we have a medical advocate in place if we can’t advocate for ourselves, and we die the way we want to.
One end-of-life document that we need to have is a medical power of attorney. What this document does is to designate someone to make medical decisions for you if you are not able to make them yourself. The medical power of attorney may come into play if you have a medical emergency that leaves you unable to communicate, you have a tragic accident that leaves you unresponsive, or you develop dementia.
Choose someone you trust and make sure that they have all of your medical history, a current list of your medications, and any current health issues you are dealing with. You can create a medical power of attorney using software designed to create end-of-life documents or by using a printable medical power of attorney form online. As long as your medical power of attorney is signed and dated, it is a binding legal document.
In addition to a medical power of attorney, we all need living wills. No matter how young or old we are, time and chance happen to everyone. Living wills specify how we want to be treated medically if we are dying or in a medical situation from which there is no recovery (such as being brain dead, for example).
A living will gives you the ability to choose whether you want every possible measure exhausted to keep you alive in a situation where you are dying or from which there is no recovery or you don’t want any life-extending procedures, but you do want comfort care.
If we don’t have living wills done, then medical staff are obligated to exercise every option available to extend life, no matter if we’ve told our families we don’t want that. Some people believe that if they have a living will that specifies no life-extending measures be taken that medical personnel will not give them complete or adequate care. This is false.
Make sure that your medical power of attorney has a copy of your living will (your medical power of attorney should keep all these documents together and have them with them at all times – putting them in a folder in a backpack in the trunk of their car is a good way to ensure this). The living will is valid and legal as long as it is signed and dated.
If we do not want to be resuscitated or we don’t want to be intubated, we need to have a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order and a Do Not Intubate (DNI) order created. Our family primary care physicians can write these orders and simply by signing them, they are legal and valid.
A DNR order tells medical professionals that we don’t want any measures taken if our hearts stop beating. One reason many people get DNR orders is because if resuscitation takes place more than six minutes after the heart stops beating, brain damage has already started to occur because of the lack of oxygen to the brain.
A DNI order tells medical professionals that we don’t want any measures taken if we are in respiratory failure, which can occur as a result of lung injuries, severe pneumonia, or breathing conditions like COPD.
For more information on end-of-life documents at funeral homes in Elmira, NY, our sympathetic and experienced staff at Roberts Funeral Home is available to help. You can come to our funeral home at 279 Main St., Wellsburg, NY 14894, or you can contact us today at (607) 734-7811.