What are Advance Directives?

Advance Directives/Can We Talk?

Laurie Oswalt, Director of Spiritual Care Services at Memorial is this week’s guest on KIT 1280.

What are Advance Directives?

  • Advance directives are legal documents that allow people to communicate their decisions about medical care to family, friends, and health care professionals in the event that they are unable to make those decisions themselves—for example, due to being unconscious or in a coma.
  • The two main types of advance directives are a living will and a medical power of attorney.

Why are advance directives important?

  • People have the right to make decisions about their own treatment. Filling out advance directives gives them a way to do so.

What is Five Wishes?

  • Five Wishes is a form of a living will written in everyday language.
  • It covers a person’s spiritual and personal desires at end of life, in addition to their medical and legal concerns.
  • This document is a legally accepted advanced directive in the state of Washington.
  • The Five Wishes lets your family and doctors know:
    • Who you want to make health care decisions for you if you cannot make them
    • The kind of medical treatment you want or don’t want
    • How comfortable you want to be
    • How you want people to treat you
    • What you want your loved ones to know.

How should Five Wishes be used?

  • End of life issues aren’t easy to talk about or think about, but no matter what age you are, you should give this some thought.
  • It provides a starting point for families to have these conversations.
  • It will make planning easier for your loved knows knowing your wishes were carried out. Think of it as a gift to your loved ones.

When should I fill it out?

  • If you are over 18, you should complete it now.
  • If you are married, you should each fill one out.
  • If you are young and in good health, you should fill one out because you never know what could happen.

How do I get a copy?

  • Instructions on how to order a copy can be found on the Memorial website. www.yakimamemorial.org/advancedirectives.
  • You can go online at www.agingwithdignity.org to complete  the document or download a copy
  • You can order one through Aging with Dignity by calling toll free 888-594-7437.
  • Attend our End of Life speaker series today at 11 am at the Memorial Hospital Auditorium.  The topic is advanced directives.  This is offered free of charge and anyone who attends receives a copy of the Five Wishes.


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