Planning for end-of-life care is a difficult topic for everyone. However, if you are a heart failure patient, planning now can ensure that you receive the type of care you feel comfortable with, even if you are one day unable to express your wishes. Discuss your wishes with your loved ones should your condition worsen or if something unexpected happens.
To make your wishes known and legally binding, you will want to search online for your state’s advance directive forms and regulations. Through this process, you can express what treatments you are and are not willing to receive if you become unable to express those wishes at the time. These wishes are recorded in a living will. Additionally, you may want to appoint someone as a healthcare or medical power of attorney. This person makes medical decisions for you if you are unable to express your wishes. He or she should be someone you trust to respect and carry out your wishes, no matter what his or her personal feelings about particular treatments or decisions for end-of-life care. The healthcare power of attorney can be separate from a financial power of attorney who handles your estate. Ultimately, the care you receive should be under your control or with those who understand the quality of life you expect.
Your heart failure care team or child’s care team are resources available to you to help you with matters such as end-of-life planning. Talk with your hospital social worker, mental health counselors, and others on this team who can help you navigate difficult challenges in heart failure care.