Living will is important
February 14, 2008
The letter, written by Louise and Richard Wallner, to the editor and printed in the Wednesday’s Summit Daily was heart breaking. I send my deepest sympathy to the Wallner’s for their indescribable loss. I thank them sincerely for bringing to the attention of Summit Daily News readers the importance of filling out and signing a medical directive or living will. To quote the Wallner’s from their letter: “This will save your loved ones the pain we had to go through.”Please know the document necessary – medical directive or living will- is easily available in our community. The local hospital has the yellow and blue pamphlet, “Your Right to Make Health Care Decisions,” on front desks. I picked up my copy at the Emergency Entrance. Printed on the inside cover of this pamphlet, the Federal law is explained and our rights under Colorado Law. The rest of the pamphlet covers: “Introduction to Advance Directives,” “Medical Durable Power of Attorney,” “Living Wills,” Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) Directive,” “Substitute Decision Makers (Medical Proxies),” “Guardians,” and includes the Living Will document to be filled out and signed. The back inside cover of the pamphlet has an “In Summary” pin pointing what we need to know.Beside the “Your Right to Make Health Care Decisions” pamphlet, other forms can be used. The “Five Wishes” document seems more personal, to me, and uses an easy manner. This document is available at the Summit County Community/Senior Center in Frisco and at Bristlecone Health Services, Inc. located in the Medical building close to the Hospital. There may be a nominal fee. The “Five Wishes” document is accepted in a number of states. On the cover it tells us: Five Wishes, My wish for: The Person I Want to Make Care Decisions for Me When I Can’t; The Kind of Medical Treatment I Want or Don’t Want; How Comfortable I Want to Be; How I Want People to Treat Me; What I Want My Loved Ones to Know. This form is signed in the presence of two witnesses. I gave a signed copy to my doctor and we can give copies to other health care providers. I gave each family member a copy. We reviewed the contents discussing questions and redefining decisions. It was a rewarding conversation with some tears. The tough decisions have been made easing my family cares.Some of you may want to visit your family lawyer for specific needs. Check with them and get a referral if that is what is needed. The Wallner letter has alerted us to the need of a medical directive or living will. No matter what our age, 18 and older, we can favor our loved ones by filling out and signing a medical directive or living will.