It can be hard to mesh one’s own wishes about health care with what one believes his or her family would wish. For example, some individuals may be presented with two levels of care for life-threatening diseases. While they may prefer a course of action that keeps them comfortable for the time remaining to them, they may fear that their families would prefer a more aggressive plan of care.
Open Conversation About Medical Decisions
Open conversations are the best ways to clear up these matters. In particularly tense situations, having a third party mediator may be a good way to keep extremely negative emotions out of the picture. However, most families do well with a comfortable and open environment in which to discuss concerns. It is vital that the patient learns all health care information from the doctor that could impact these decisions prior to having this discussion.
In some cases, senior citizens and their family members never come to an amicable resolution. At this point, and indeed at every point, it is the patient’s prerogative to make all decisions related to his or her health care as long as the individual is mentally sound. For these and other reasons, all senior citizens are encouraged to develop and sign living wills or to designate someone they trust to be the health care power of attorney. A living will states specific health care treatments that the patient is open to as well as opposed to while the power of attorney is a person who is allowed to make healthcare decisions for the patient if the patient can no longer make them for any reason.