Below is a link to a well-written article on CPR/resuscitation while you are in the hospital. The author, Dr. K.V. Scruggs, lays out the situations facing families every day. It’s very informative, including a Five Wishes form or a MOST form. Here are the links to these as well:
A Five Wishes (https://agingwithdignity.org/docs/default-source/default-document-library/product-samples/fwsample.pdf?sfvrsn=2) or MOST form (http://www.polst.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/NC-MOST-Form.pdf) tells those who will care for you and who will make decisions for you what those decisions should be. Gift your family with your wishes so they know how to take care of you in the way you envision.
I urge you to open the link below and help yourself to some very valuable information. Thank you, Dr. Scruggs.
Take a look at this picture. It shows a place for important documents, all safely tucked away, and in the hopes you won’t need them for decades. These signed documents should be adorned with a big red bow. Because they are the greatest gift you can give to your loved ones, if you can’t speak for yourself, and they have to.
This is a tough subject but not that complicated. An advanced directive is simply a catchall term used to describe documents necessary for your wishes to be carried out, in the event you are unable to make medical decisions. These documents include a living will (also called a directive to physicians), medical power of attorney, and if someone is quite elderly or terminally ill, might include an out of hospital DNR (do not resuscitate). Be sure to include a HIPPA release form which allows your medical information to be shared with your medical power of attorney.
I am sharing a link that has very comprehensive information about advanced directives, including links to download them at no cost, and specific to your state. Just about every question you might have is laid out very helpfully. This link comes from the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. http://www.caringinfo.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3289
Enormous thanks to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization for compiling and sharing this important information.
The Words. The WORDS no one ever wants or expects to hear. “Dad’s not breathing.” So what do you do? Who do you call? Where do you turn?
“I just came by to check on Dad. He’s in bed. He’s not breathing. Should I call 911?”
And that answer is Yes, unless your dad and your family have made some clear decisions beforehand.
To know what to do, first and foremost, you have to know…what does Dad want?
Depending on Dad’s state of health, chronological age, mental acuity, spiritual beliefs, family commitments, etc., Dad may want you to call 911 for a full resuscitation. Or if Dad is X-many years old and has been chronically ill for ten years with six different diseases, he may want to be left alone for his natural passing to occur. Or maybe he wants treatment as long as it’s not permanent or invasive. Maybe he needs and wants an NG tube for some temporary tube feedings, but does not want to be kept alive with a surgically installed feeding tube. The point is that none of these questions can be answered if you as a family have never discussed it with Dad.
To avoid immeasurable pain and anguish during the final years of a loved ones’ life, your family simply MUST communicate with each other WELL BEFORE choices have to be made. ASK the hard questions. START the hard conversations. BRING it up when people are physically healthy and mentally functional. MENTION a friend who’s lost a loved one and TELL how their wishes were kept. OFFER to help get a Living Will to get the discussion going.
Give your Dad and your family an immeasurable gift of peaceful knowledge. When you one day have to hear the words “Dad’s not breathing,” you will know whether to answer, “I’m calling 911” or “Call the family; it’s time for everyone to come on over and be with Dad.”