In the News: What Does it Mean to Have a Health Care Directive?

There seems to be a lot of fear around President Obama’s proposed healthcare reforms, most of that fear centering on the end-of-life planning included in the proposal. As a firm that deals with elder law issues, it is important to us that our clients be informed about their choices as to health care and end-of-life decisions.  As a firm that counsels people (elderly or not) about the wisdom of including end-of-life planning in their health care directive, we feel it’s in your best interest to clear up a few details about exactly what that planning entails.

One of the fears currently sweeping the nation is that the Obama administration’s healthcare reforms are about euthanasia; or denying someone lifesaving medical treatment simply because they are elderly. As detailed in this article in the Washington Post, this is simply not true. Rather, as the article explains, thinking about your end-of-life healthcare options, talking about them with your doctor and family, and including them in your health care directive is responsible. It is about controlling your own destiny in your final days; whether that means you choose to forgo invasive procedures, or want every heroic measure taken—the decision is yours. But there is no way for your family or your doctor to know what your wishes are unless you’ve had the conversation and specified those wishes in your health care directive.

We, as your attorney, have no political leanings or agenda. We know that there is certainly much debate to be had about the pros and cons of the proposed health care reforms, but as regards end-of-life decisions and health care directives, I hope we have been able to clear up some confusion and ease your mind. If you have questions about your health care decisions, please don’t hesitate to call our office.