Start the Conversation About Advance Care Planning
National Healthcare Decisions Day is held annually on April 16. This is a day to take a few moments and start the conversation with your loved ones about your healthcare wishes. The lack of advance care planning can result in confusion and disagreement among family members.
Make Your Wishes Known
Regardless of your age, it’s important to discuss your healthcare wishes with your loved ones. You could face serious illness or injury at any stage of your life. Advance care planning will enable you to share your wishes about end-of-life care with your loved ones. Get started by visiting additional resources such as the Ohio’s Hospice Choices Advances Directives Booklet and Decide to be Heard.
Definitions You Should Know
Adult means a person who is 18 years of age or older.
Agent or attorney-in-fact means a competent adult who a person (the “principal”) can name in a Health Care Power of Attorney to make health care decisions for the principal.
Artificially or technologically supplied nutrition or hydration means food and fluids provided through intravenous or tube feedings. [You can refuse or discontinue a feeding tube or authorize your Health Care Power of Attorney agent to refuse or discontinue artificial nutrition or hydration.]
Bond means an insurance policy issued to protect the ward’s assets from theft or loss caused by the Guardian of the Estate’s failure to properly perform his or her duties.
Comfort care means any measure, medical or nursing procedure, treatment or intervention, including nutrition and/or hydration, that is taken to diminish a patient’s pain or discomfort, but not to postpone death.
CPR means cardiopulmonary resuscitation, one of several ways to start a person’s breathing or heartbeat once either has stopped. It does not include clearing a person’s airway for a reason other than resuscitation.
Do Not Resuscitate or DNR Order means a physician’s medical order that is written into a patient’s record to indicate that the patient should not receive cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
Guardian means the person appointed by a court through a legal procedure to make decisions for a ward. A Guardianship is established by such court appointment.
Health care means any care, treatment, service or procedure to maintain, diagnose or treat an individual’s physical or mental health.
Health care decision means giving informed consent, refusing to give informed consent, or withdrawing informed consent to health care.
Health Care Power of Attorney means a legal document that lets the principal authorize an agent to make health care decisions for the principal in most health care situations when the principal can no longer make such decisions. Also, the principal can authorize the agent to gather protected health information for and on behalf of the principal immediately or at any other time. A Health Care Power of Attorney is NOT a financial power of attorney. The Health Care Power of Attorney document also can be used to nominate person(s) to act as guardian of the principal’s person or estate. Even if a court appoints a guardian for the principal, the Health Care Power of Attorney remains in effect unless the court rules otherwise.
Life-sustaining treatment means any medical procedure, treatment, intervention or other measure that, when administered to a patient, mainly prolongs the process of dying.
Living Will Declaration means a legal document that lets a competent adult (“declarant”) specify what health care the declarant wants or does not want when he or she becomes terminally ill or permanently unconscious and can no longer make his or her wishes known. It is NOT and does not replace a will, which is used to appoint an executor to manage a person’s estate after death.
Permanently unconscious state means an irreversible condition in which the patient is permanently unaware of himself or herself and surroundings. At least two physicians must examine the patient and agree that the patient has totally lost higher brain function and is unable to suffer or feel pain.
Principal means a competent adult who signs a Health Care Power of Attorney.
Terminal condition means an irreversible, incurable, and untreatable condition caused by disease, illness, or injury from which, to a reasonable degree of medical certainty as determined in accordance with reasonable medical standards by a principal’s attending physician and one other physician who has examined the principal, both of the following apply: (1) there can be no recovery and (2) death is likely to occur within a relatively short time if life-sustaining treatment is not administered.
Ward means the person the court has determined to be incompetent. The ward’s person, financial estate, or both, is protected by a guardian the court appoints and oversees.