Ultimate Patientude: Your Final Wishes

As I tooled down the highway on my way home last evening, I heard a commercial on my radio that needs to be shared with you.

I was particularly interested because as important as the message was, I really had to wonder just who was paying for the commercial time! Because the message was not one that could sell a product or service.

It was a commercial, a public awareness announcement, about advanced directives.

Yesterday I introduced the term “patientude” — development of the attitude and skills we need to get the healthcare we deserve. The development of advanced directives, it seems to me, is an ultimate form of patientude.

The commercial directed me to a website: www.PutItInWriting.com The sponsor of this website, and the commercial, is the American Hospital Association. They call it “Your Life on Your Terms.”

There is a ton of excellent information there, from the American Bar Association, to the National Palliative Care Association — it’s an invitation to see and read what you need to know about making sure your loved ones understand your wishes, and making sure your loved ones aren’t forced to make difficult decisions on your behalf during the heartbreak of losing you.

Do yourself and your loved ones a favor and check it out. www.PutItInWriting.com Your loved ones will thank you for your ultimate PATIENTUDE.

And I thank the American Hospital Association and the other sponsors for sharing the information.

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2 thoughts on “Ultimate Patientude: Your Final Wishes”

  1. I cannot second your suggestion about advanced directives, with one qualifier. Unfortunately, regardless of what type of advanced directive you may have in place, if you become incapacitated, the doctors will do what your family wants even if it is against the directive. Why is this? Because if your survival or mental competence is unlikely to improve and your family is there clamoring for them to do more, what are they likely to do? Most, if not all, doctors will ignore the directive and follow your families demands. Why? Because your family is who will be here to sue them, not you. Yes, they would have a defense using the advanced directive, but that still requires defending the suit. Whereas doing what your family demands will ‘make them happy’ and less likely to sue. As they say, the path of least resistance.

    A much better course would be discuss with a close friend or family member you can trust what your wishes are. Make sure they understand your position and agree to advocate for your wishes. Then execute what is known as a “Healthcare Power of Attorney” naming this person as your spokesperson. This is much more workable and much more powerful in these situations.

    Thanks for all your great work. I wish I had more patients like you.

    Marty Gister, RN-PICU

  2. Marty,

    Thanks for posting…. and excellent advice about the friend instead of the family member.

    You are SOOO right! As I think about it, the very thing you described happened with my mother-in-law. Despite all her instructions otherwise, my sister-in-law overroad her wishes and Mom was “spared”, given surgery, chemo — and was just miserable for the next six months until she died.

    I was very new to the family (only months before had married her son) and could not/would not say a word to my new sister-in-law. My husband and I discussed it, but he was not the designated proxy. I knew in my heart it was just wrong.

    Your advice is excellent! Please feel free to post this kind of good advice whenever the spirit moves you 🙂


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Trisha Torrey
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