10 Things to Know About End of Life Planning

Submitted by By Katie Johnson, DO, Medical Director of Beebe Palliative Care

Creating an Advance Directive Provides Protection for You, Ease of Mind for your Family

In Delaware, if you are at least 18 years old, you may make a written Advance Healthcare Directive to accept or refuse most healthcare treatments or procedures. Your Advance Health Care Directive will tell your doctor what you want if you become unable to decide yourself.

This Advance Health Care Directive is basically an official document that can provide comfort and direction for both you and your family. It allows everyone to be on the same page should you not be able to speak for yourself.

Here are 10 Need to Knows:

  1. Anyone over the age of 18 can prepare a health directive.
  2. It puts decisions on future medical care in writing.
  3. It does not need to be completed with a lawyer.
  4. You can change this directive at any time – verbally or in writing.
  5. You can nominate people (medical power of attorney) who will be legally recognized as acting on your behalf in a time when you lose capacity.
  6. This directive is only used when you have lost capacity to make decisions for yourself.
  7. Having a directive provides written guidance for your medical care team.
  8. Having a directive helps your family by removing any doubt about what care their loved one wants.
  9. This directive cannot be overridden by your family or healthcare provider. Healthcare providers are legally bound to follow your directions.
  10. Beebe can help you create an advance care directive. For information or to get started, call the Beebe Patient Advocate team at 302-645-3547.

If you are in a hospital, nursing home, or similar facility when you sign your written instruction, you must choose witnesses who are not employees of the facility. In addition, if you are in a nursing home or similar facility, one of the witnesses must be a Long-Term Care Ombudsman or the Public Guardian.

If you do not have an Advance Health Care Directive and you are unable to make decisions, a member of your family will be asked to make healthcare choices for you.

Learn more about advance directives on Beebe’s website and download the free guide: www.beebehealthcare.org/advance-directives.

Katie Johnson, DO, is an in-hospital physician and Medical Director of Palliative Care at Beebe Healthcare.

Katie Johnson, DO, is an in-hospital physician and Medical Director of Palliative Care at Beebe Healthcare. Dr. Johnson received her Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine from Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine and completed her residency in Internal Medicine at Methodist Dallas Medical Center in Texas. Learn more about Palliative Care at Beebe: www.beebehealthcare.org/palliative-care.