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What are your plans for medical care in your final days?

Thinking about your final days on Earth is certainly not pleasant. Even though this is true, you have to think about how unpleasant it would be to be subjected to medical treatments you don't want because you have never documented your wishes and nobody has the legal grounds to stand up for your needs. This situation is where having your living will and power of attorney for health care is essential.

When you are creating the living will and setting up the power of attorney for health care, there are several things that must be handled properly.

The living will

There are some aspects of medical care that you might feel strongly about. These can be covered in the living will. Things like what type of lifesaving care and what type of life prolonging measures you are willing to use need to be discussed here. You should also clearly state what measures you aren't willing to accept at all. For example, if you don't want to accept blood products, this should be included in your living will. If you want to have intravenous nutrition and hydration to help keep you comfortable in your final days, put this in the living will.

The power of attorney

There is a good chance that some aspects of care won't be covered in the living will. In these cases, your power of attorney for medical care will go into effect if you aren't able to speak up and make decisions on your own. The person you choose should be someone who knows what you would want and is able to speak up for you. Sometimes, people choose a spouse or adult child to handle this duty, but others don't want to put that pressure on these individuals.

The discussion

It is a good idea to sit down with your loved ones and make your wishes clear while you can still answer questions. This reduces the chance that your living will might contain something that will shock them. It also gives them a chance to get clarification on anything that they aren't 100 percent sure about.

Once you have everything in order, take the time to review the documents and designations at least once per year. This helps to ensure they accurately reflect your current wishes.

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