Your preferences, your rights: Planning for end-of-life care

Planning for emergencies and serious medical needs can be a frightening prospect for you, but despite how uncomfortable this may make you feel, it can be beneficial for both you and your loved ones. Planning for end-of-life care and outlining your wishes in case of incapacitation can provide a measure of security and peace of mind for your future.

You have the right to ensure that the care you receive meets your preferences. There are certain legal documents that you can draft in order to outline what you want and protect your rights, as well as release your Maryland family from unnecessary stress in difficult situations.

Two things you may need as part of your estate plan

Through a living will and health care power of attorney, you can determine what kind of care and medical interventions you will receive in case you are ever seriously ill or injured. The benefits of having these protections in place are as follows:

  • Living will: A living will is a document that spells out what you want regarding medical treatments and interventions to keep you alive. In this document, you can specify your preferences regarding the following:

  • Resuscitation

  • Mechanical ventilation

  • Dialysis

  • Antibiotics

  • Palliative care

  • Organ donation

  • Tube feeding

Making these decisions can be difficult, and you may find it beneficial to speak with your doctor before you make any important decisions regarding these serious medical concerns.

  • Power of attorney: This is a type of advance directive that allows you to name a person to make important medical decisions on your behalf. This person could be a spouse, trusted family member or member of your faith community. Whoever you choose must be:

  • Approved as a health care agent

  • Willing to discuss medical needs

  • Trusted to act on your behalf and make important decisions

  • Not your doctor

Making the decision to trust someone with this important responsibility can be difficult. As you draft important estate planning documents, you may find it beneficial to discuss your concerns with family members and even your doctor.

When you have all of the appropriate documents in place, you can be certain that your estate plan is sufficient to protect your interests as well as those of your loved ones. If it is important to you to control your health care and receive care according to your preferences, planning for end-of-life care or emergency situations is a worthwhile effort.

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