When diagnosed with a serious illness, it is natural to experience feelings of helplessness and confusion. This is a scenario which many of us will never have to consider, and hopefully one we’ll never have to face. To help yourself and your loved ones, both during your illness and afterward, there are a few things you can do. Making certain to plan carefully can make dealing with a serious illness easier for everyone.
1. Complete Advanced Directives
An Advanced Directive is a legal document which protects an individual’s wishes as far as the medical treatment they receive, even if they become no longer able to make decisions. With an Advanced Directive, you can designate a person to make decisions for your treatment and choose whether or not they wish to continue any life-sustaining treatment. Advanced Directives also allow individuals to designate themselves as organ donors, in the event of death.
2. Fill out a Physician's Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment
Many states have specific documents that people can complete called Physician’s Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST). These are important to complete in addition to the Advanced Directive. These documents are signed by both the patient and his or her doctor. They direct emergency personnel what to do or not do in a medical emergency, such as whether to perform CPR, to intubate, to use a feeding tube, along with many other life-sustaining medical interventions. Even in states that do not provide specific forms, it is often still possible to legally state one’s wishes as far as life-sustaining treatment is concerned. Consulting with an attorney is a good way to receive information and relevant advice as far as life-sustaining treatment requests are concerned.
3. Review Life Insurance
It is important for everyone to regularly review their life insurance policies. When facing a serious illness, a life insurance specialist from Steers Insurance Limited recommends that you review your policy to make certain the beneficiaries are all listed and what coverage everyone is guaranteed. It is also important to make certain you understand the extent and limitations of your coverage, to protect yourself and your family from unexpected bills.
4. Review Wills
Though difficult, it is important to review your will when facing a serious illness. Anyone who has prepared a will years in advance may find it needs revising at the time of their diagnosis. If a review of the will reveals a need for it to be changed or updated, consider meeting with your attorney for counsel on the appropriate revisions.
5. Hope for the Best, Prepare for the Worst
While modern medicine can often provide a hopeful outcome to most serious illnesses, there are occasions when the outcome is less than ideal. While it is difficult to think about and discuss with loved ones, it is essential for everyone to be up to speed with any legal necessities which will be required in the event of death.
Making certain to plan carefully when facing a serious illness can help you secure some peace of mind. Knowing that you will have control over the treatment you receive and that your beneficiaries will be provided for can provide significant comfort during a difficult time.
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