How palliative care can help with advance directives
It is hard to think about the end of your life. You may not want to
fill out forms that make you think about dying. But writing down your health
care wishes in a legal document called an
advance directive can give you peace of mind. It can
also allow you to spend time on more important things as you near the end of
There are two main types of advance directives. A power of attorney
says who you would want to speak for you if you could not speak for yourself.
This person is called your
health care agent. A living will asks questions about
the kind of treatment you want or do not want. This includes questions like
whether you want to be fed through a tube if you can no longer eat on your
First, ask your primary care doctor for a referral to palliative care. Remember: you don't have to give up your relationship with your regular doctors to receive palliative care services. The palliative care team will work with your other doctors.
In most cases, patients receive palliative care in the hospital. But other health care settings offer palliative care, too, including assisted living facilities, nursing homes, outpatient clinics, and hospices.
Your doctor may inform you about local...
You may find it easier to fill out these forms with the help of a
palliative care provider. He or she can explain everything to you and help you
fill out the forms correctly.
If you have not
filled out an advance directive, talk to your doctor. He or she can help you
get the right forms for your state. You may also find these forms in a doctor's
office, hospital, or your state's bar association, health department, or
department of aging. Another option is to get free forms from the nonprofit
organization Caring Connections at www.caringinfo.org or by calling
Primary Medical Reviewer
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
Shelly R. Garone, MD - Palliative Medicine
March 4, 2010
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
March 04, 2010
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this