Before funerals at funeral homes in Dayton, OH, you want to make sure your advance directives – which state your end-of-life wishes – are completed and in order.
The documents included in advance directives, at a minimum, should be a medical power of attorney and a living will.
A medical power of attorney is a legal document that lets you appoint someone to make medical decisions for you if you are unable to. Whomever you appoint to be your medical power of attorney should have your complete medical history, a current list (with times of day taken and dosages) of your medications, and knowledge of any current medical issues or problems you’re being treated for.
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A living will let you decide what you want to be done when you are dying. You can choose to have no extensive medical intervention to prolong your life (but you do want comfort care to make your last days comfortable) or you can choose to have every medical intervention done that can prolong your life (with comfort care provided once they are exhausted).
There are other legal documents, however, that you should also consider putting into your advance directive.
One of those is a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order. You can have your primary care physical create and authorize this order. A DNR order prohibits any medical intervention once your heart stops beating.
Once the heart stops beating, blood stops flowing to the rest of the body, including the brain. After six minutes of no heartbeat, brain cells begin to die. If resuscitation occurs after six minutes, you may suffer some mild cognitive deficits, but as time passes with no heartbeat, brain damage can become severe.
Another document that you should consider having is a Do Not Intubate (DNI) order. Again, your primary care physician can create and authorize this order. A DNI order prohibits any medical intervention if you stop breathing.
Many people don’t know about another important document that you should consider adding to your advance directive. That is a Do Not Hospitalize (DNH) order.
A DNH order is specifically targeted toward the end of life. Eight out of ten terminally ill patients say they don’t want to be hospitalized and in intensive care when their final days arrive. Instead, they want to be at home, surrounded by their loved ones, when they die.
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Research has shown that there is no difference in the mortality rate between people who were hospitalized and treated and those who were not during the final six months of their terminal illnesses.
Hospitalization alone is tough, especially for critically ill people and the elderly. The change in the environment can be upsetting. The constant coming and going of medical staff can be disruptive. For people who want peace and quiet, as many terminally ill people and elderly people who are near the end of their life do, a hospital is not the place to be.
Because hospitals can be so confusing, upsetting, and disruptive, many terminally ill and elderly patients are given strong sedatives like Haldol and Ativan. In small doses, these can be effective at handling anxiety, but hospitals often use these medications for continual sedation. This can have a very negative impact on brain function when the patients go home.
It’s inevitable that some people will die in hospitals, but you can control whether you’re hospitalized at the end of your life with a DNH.
If you’d like guidance from funeral homes in Dayton, OH about advance directives, our compassionate and experienced staff at Glickler Funeral Home & Cremation Service can help. You can come by our funeral home at 1849 Salem Ave., Dayton, OH 45406, or you can contact us today at (937) 278-4287.