Although it's not always easy to imagine yourself in a serious medical situation while you're still healthy, it marks the perfect time to think ahead about creating an end-of-life care plan for yourself and your loved ones. By building a plan well in advance, you can be sure that your wishes will be honored when the time comes. Your plan can also help make care decisions a little bit easier for your family.
Ready to create an end-of-life care plan? Here are three vital steps to cover.
1. Set Up a Medical Power of Attorney
If you ever become unable to make health care decisions for yourself, who would you want to step up to the task?
By setting up a medical power of attorney, you'll formally assign a loved one to make decisions on your behalf if serious illness renders you incapable of making care decisions for yourself. You may designate your medical power of attorney online or through an estate attorney who can draft up the paperwork that you and your power of attorney will sign.
2. Create a Living Will
In addition to designating a medical power of attorney, spell out what kind of care you'd want to receive in a situation where you aren't able to advocate for yourself. You can do this in a document known as a living will or advance directive.
This document typically includes directives on which treatments you want (or don't want) to receive in order to be kept alive, according to the National Cancer Institute. This may include decisions about feeding tubes, CPR and breathing ventilators.
3. Consider Different Care Settings
Another key component of end-of-life care planning is deciding what type of care settings you prefer.
With options out there ranging as widely as nursing homes and hospice care to hospitals and home-based care, the American Journal of Managed Care recommends reviewing each care option in advance to determine which types of care will best fit your wishes and your budget.
Start the Conversation Early
It's critical to talk about your end-of-life care wishes with your loved ones in case you ever become unable to communicate your own preferences. Having an open and clear dialogue about what you want can offer you peace of mind and ultimately help guide your loved ones in the right direction if they ever need to make decisions on your behalf.