Making Choices: A Health Care Directive
Mrs. Alvarado lives in a nursing home. Although her health is good, she knows that she is getting older, and she worries about what would happen if she were to have a medical emergency. She has started to worry about this more since her friend recently suffered an unexpected heart attack. Mrs. Alvarado knows that she does not want to be hooked up to any machines or life support at the end of her life. She also knows that she does not want to be resuscitated if her heart stops working. Mrs. Alvarado has decided that she needs to talk with someone from her health care team about her wishes.
Mrs. Alvarado has a special bond with one of the nurse assistants who helps to take care of her. The nurse assistant’s name is Bonnie. One day Mrs. Alvarado tells Bonnie that it is important to her that her health care choices be respected. She asks Bonnie how she can make sure that her family members and caregivers all know about her wishes if she is no longer able to communicate them herself. Bonnie suggests a health care directive. A health care directive is a legal document that outlines your wishes about your health care. It provides information about what sorts of treatments, medications, and procedures a person does or does not want. It can also provide information about organ donation and funeral arrangements.
Mrs. Alvarado likes the idea of creating a health care directive. Bonnie helps her and her family find more information about health care directives on the Minnesota Department of Health website and encourages them to speak with Mrs. Alvarado’s doctor about any questions they have. Bonnie also shows her other websites that provide even more information and planning tools that can help Mrs. Alvarado create her own health care directive. Mrs. Alvarado is glad that she spoke with Bonnie about her health care wishes. She feels better knowing that there are easy steps she can take to ensure that the choices she makes now will be respected in the future.