Resuscitation: It’s Not Like TV

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 Unknown(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.

https://kvscruggs.wordpress.com/2016/04/11/the-dirty-secret-about-cpr-in-the-hospital-that-doctors-desperately-want-you-to-know/

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Advanced Directives: Get Yours in the Drawer

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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.

“Dad’s Not Breathing”

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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.”

 

What Is Your Story?

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What is your story? How did it go the last time you had to say goodbye to someone you love? Clear Wishes invites you or someone you know to join this conversation. Speaking of your experiences can offer healing, clarity, closure. We invite you to leave your words in the comments section of this blog entry. Later, they will be published to the Commentaries section for the benefit of others.

We are all on a journey of hellos and goodbyes. Good wishes to fellow travelers.

Clear Wishes: Start the Conversation

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Clear Wishes is more than just an informational website and helpful blog. “CLEAR WISHES” is also the acronym to help people remember how to begin the important discussion regarding end-of-life issues. So let’s get started.

First, let’s be Clear.

C stands for Conversation. Get it started. Discuss these issues when everyone is healthy and mentally well. This sounds obvious. But it only takes one illness to render this communication impossible.

L stands for Loved Ones. They are the folks to have the conversations with.

E stands for the scary topic: End-of-Life wishes, choices and desires.

A stands for Advise. Once your have determined your wishes, it’s important to state them clearly to your family.

R stands for Respect the wishes. And this is often hard for the family. No one wants to let go. But during a critical period, the family must defer to their loved ones requests.

So now we get to the Wishes.

W stands for Writing it all down. Yes, it’s time to get the wills, the powers of attorneys, the advanced directives, medical power of attorneys, all of it.

I stands for Information. Get it. There is so much information regarding your choices as the natural end-of-life approaches. What is palliative care?  What is hospice care?

S stands for Speak your choices. Make your wishes abundantly clear to your family.

H stands for Honor. Just like respect, family members must honor their loved ones’ wishes. This is very, very hard to do many times. But we have to remember it is the wishes of the loved one, and not we survivors, that matter at this time.

E stands for a big subject: ethics. End-of-life issues are fraught with ethical determinations. Read up on the subject. Understand that life can be sustained for nearly any length in nearly any condition. But should it? And who makes that decision?

S stands for Sharing. Share your words in writing, in conversation, with your family, with your friends, with your colleagues. Sharing arms you with the clear knowledge of what your loved one wants, or doesn’t want, even if they have become unable to speak for themselves.

Without exception, no one wants to discuss the issues of death and dying. But there will come a time in every single life when that discussion has to happen. Trust me, it will be much, much easier if you have talked about it long before you needed to.

Blessings from Clear Wishes.