Looking ahead toward the end of life is never an easy task for our elders, their caregivers or other family members. But having an Advance Care Directive can make the process easier for all involved, including their medical providers. It’s an opportunity for adults of any age to let their loved ones know what kind of care or medical interventions they want in the event of an emergency or serious illness.
This legal document describes the preferences a person wants in the event that they become incapable of making their own health care choices. It may be something like emergency surgery, CPR, or life-sustaining measures, such as a ventilator or feeding tube, to deal with existing medical situations. We often think of these for older people who may be dealing with multiple, chronic medical problems, as well as cognitive decline, but in fact, these are important for adults of any age, since anyone may be involved in a car crash or have sudden, unexpected emergencies.
If you currently do not have a care directive, or want to encourage your family members to complete one, the best place to go is to your local medical provider. Clinics in our area are happy to provide you with a booklet that will describe the process, offer questions to consider, and include forms that meet the legal requirements for the directives. They will explain what to look for in finding your health care agent, the person who will agree to carry out your wishes, and may even include other guidelines for final wishes you’d like your family to know.
In addition, health care providers have people on staff who will be happy to discuss this with you if you have questions, and you may even talk with your individual provider for direction. They can help you with required signatures of witnesses or a notary public. Once you’ve completed the forms and all involved people have signed the directive, they will make copies so the clinic can have them on file, and you can have them available at your home, your agent’s home, your car, etc.
You can contact your Faribault or Freeborn County clinic from the list below for additional information:
Mayo Clinic Health Systems
Ask for Advance Health Care Planning: Making Your Wishes Known
Wells Clinic (507) 553-6341
Albert Lea Clinic (507) 377-6470 Attention: Jackie Carstens, social services
United Hospital District
Ask for Five Wishes
Blue Earth Clinic (507) 526-3273 Email: kkuechenmeister@UHD.org
Wells Clinic (507) 553-6550
There is a short form available from the Minnesota Attorney General’s office
Or an even shorter version available from Honoring Choices Minnesota