Nobody likes to think about his or her own death, but conversations about death and dying can ensure that your choices are carried out if you become unconscious, terminally ill or unable to communicate. That's why it's important to know about living wills and advance directives, which provide an opportunity to put in writing the care you would want to receive.
Fisher-Titus Medical Center is teaming up with area libraries to provide information about these important documents. FTMC social workers will visit five different community libraries and meet with anyone interested in knowing about advance directives, including living wills and health care powers of attorney. Forms will be available. The seminars include:
From 10 to 11:30 a.m. Monday, Milan Public Library, 19 E. Church St., Milan
From 10 to 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, New London Public Library, 67 S. Main St., New London
From 10 to 11:30 a.m. Nov. 5, Wakeman Public Library, 33 S. Pleasant St., Wakeman
From 10 to 11:30 a.m. Nov. 6, Berlin Township Public Library, 4 E. Main St., Berlin Heights
From 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Nov. 8, Norwalk Public Library, 46 W. Main St., Norwalk
For more information and to make an appointment, call (419) 668-8101, ext. 6356.
Fisher-Titus Medical Center has joined efforts with The Ohio Hospital Association, Ohio Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, the Ohio State Bar Foundation and several other Ohio organizations to educate Ohioans regarding the importance of advance directives. Gov. Ted Strickland declared Oct. 14 to 20 Living Wills and Advance Directives Week 2007, Living Today, Planning for Tomorrow.
"In the absence of an advance directive, family members who disagree about end-of-life care could file an objection, leaving care decisions in the hands of a judge," said Kristi Washburn, FTMC director of quality and case management. "By discussing your wishes with family members and filling out advance directives this can be avoided."
The most common advance directive a living will is a legal document that dictates how much life-sustaining treatment an individual wishes to have administered once he or she has been deemed by physicians to be terminally ill or permanently unconscious, and unable to communicate his or her wishes. A health-care power of attorney is another common advance directive in which the individual designates another person to make medical decisions when he or she is unable to communicate wishes but may not be terminally ill or permanently unconscious.
Advance directives are gaining popularity. According to a Harris Interactive survey conducted in March, two in five U.S. adults have living wills an increase of 10 percent since 2004, the year when Terri Shiavo made headlines as her husband and her parents battled in court over removing her feeding tube. Schiavo had been in a prolonged vegetative state when her husband requested the tube be removed in 1998. The case took seven years to resolve. A living will would have made her wishes clear, and a health care power of attorney would have dictated who she wanted to make her health care decisions for her.