Last Months, Last Moments

Our current  formula of Health Care and or the kind of care you and I can receive is dictated by Insurers and Pharmaceutical Companies.  Your care depends on your insurance plan, availability of practitioners who accept your plan, then getting authorization from an insurer about a proposed treatment plan which may or not include a drug therapy, which will require another authorization.

Seems like the two most important elements are taken out of the equation here.  Namely your desires and your physician\’s recommendations. That\’s assuming you even have a physician who knows you and can advocate for you.

If you haven\’t experienced any of the disconnect of the above scenario, more than likely it will hit you smack in the face when it comes to care of a chronic illness or end of life care for yourself or a loved one.

Here are a few things to consider before you are on the \”Back Nine\”. To use a golfer\’s analogy, which I hadn\’t heard until a few years ago but, you get the drift? If life were 18 holes, the first several holes you are fresh and by the middle 8th hole, you are getting the hang of it and doing well, but start to tire..

Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care DPOA
This is usually completed within a Trust along with your Will or your \”Living Will\”

Living Will
Sometimes the above terms are used interchangeably, but in fact are different.

This can be used sometimes as a DNR, but is separate. In some states there is a pre-admission DNR (hospital)

Every state and county differs in available resources. In patient settings or at home. Also there are for profit and non profit hospices.

Hemlock Society Compassion and Choices
Name changes through the decades, but they continue to advocate for patient rights.

Caring Advocates
A new to me organization, that provides a comprehensive guide to end of life planning

Patient Rights
See what your legal rights are. Each state is different.

Do Not resuscitate, has been replaced with AND in some health care settings.  Some-
times this is used with or without the POLST. You might consider a situation with the POLST at your home or residence and or DNR or AND at a hospital setting.

Allow a natural death.

What to do after it\’s over?

Burial Average cost of a basic funeral 8-10 Thousand

Cremation Cheaper than burial, but you must still provide for memorial or witnessing fees.

Donation Many people opt to be an for organ donor. Check out your state\’s registry, as some require registration. A low cost/0 option is whole body donation. Teaching hospitals around the country have programs where whole body donation is an option. ScienceCare(which is referenced in the above link) offer the cremated remains back to your family if they wish, which isn\’t an option in some facilities.

Please don\’t think I\’m advocating one over the other, I\’m advocating personal choice which is often taken out the equation of our health care. I\’m also advocating planning and implementing  your wishes.  I do know from personal and professional experience, that many of us are poorly prepared for our bodies failure. That, along with the challenges we face which are compounded by a bureaucracy of legal and moral limitations, our personal choices fall by the wayside.  This can easily happen in the event we find ourselves in an institutional setting like this woman\’s story. Despite her wishes, when you have an opposing protocol, it\’s not the consumer/patient/me/you who wins.

If you have aging parents, ill relatives or are on the \”back 9\” yourself, consider your options and plan, lest you have no choice at all.  Clean out the top shelf of your linen closet (why that accumulates so much stuff, I\’ll never know) use all the things you\’ve been saving for good. Because, now is good too.

And another view of it all.

To your Continued Good Health.