What Do I Put In My Health Care Directive?
Your health care directive gives you the chance to speak now about how you want to live out the end of your life if you are not able to speak for yourself.
If you’ve done any reading about health care directives, you know many articles dance around the toughest questions. Because care and treatment about the end of your life is complex, it’s best not to rely on vague articles to guide you in creating a plan. You should consult a lawyer to help you construct an effective and thorough health care directive.
When you go see your lawyer, however, you should be prepared to answer some very tough questions. Most articles about this topic give a standard example question. “Do you want to be kept on a feeding tube?”
A good health care directive does not focus on treatments such as feeding tubes and care requirements. A good health care directive is going to ask you about quality of life.
It’s best to assume that your lawyer will want you to think about some of the hardest questions. You may need two or three appointments to work through all of the details.
Here are a few of the tough questions:
- On a scale of 1-10, what level of pain are willing to live with on a daily basis?
- On a scale of 1-10, what level of discomfort (nausea, vomiting) are you willing to live with on a daily basis?
- If you are unable to clean or bathe yourself, where do you expect to live?
Lastly, don’t shy away from putting in some personal notes about the reasons behind your choices. Something like, “I saw my Uncle Wayne live with intolerable pain for six months and I am not willing to do the same.” This will help your family’s emotional state as they carry out your last wishes.