Issues to Consider When Developing Advance Directives
Advance directives are important to include in your estate plan, and it has become especially important now to revisit your advance directives in the wake of a global pandemic that has killed more than 140,000 people (and counting) in the United States.
Here are a few of the most important issues to consider when developing your advance directives.
- Ventilators: This is especially important to consider with the COVID-19 pandemic. Ventilators are machines used to help you breathe; you have a tube put through the trachea, and have air forced into the lungs. Medication keeps you sedated while on the ventilator. In some cases, long-term ventilator use may require a tracheotomy. It is not uncommon for people to decline ventilator care in their advance directives, but ventilators are frequently used as routine care equipment in ICU settings for COVID-19 treatment, so people may want to add a stipulation for allowing ventilator care in such circumstances or put another way, to not refuse a ventilator except in specified circumstances.
- Artificial hydration and nutrition: If a patient is unable to eat, they may be fed through a feeding tube and hydrated intravenously. Consider whether or not you wish to receive this treatment as part of your end-of-life care. Studies show artificial nutrition does not have any significant effect on prolonging life.
- CPR: Consider the circumstances in which you would want CPR performed. Young and healthy people may be able to have CPR performed and have their heart continue to beat normally. However, older adults with chronic illnesses or who are already frail may wish to forego CPR in some circumstances.
For more information about some of the most important considerations when developing advance directives, contact an experienced Tampa estate planning lawyer at BaumannKangas Estate Law.