Survey implies 'disconnect' between patients and end of life plans

Have you ever thought of estate planning or your end-of-life wishes? If so, have you made any legal action regarding those thoughts? Your answers to those questions probably depend on your age and your health.

Overall, however, a recent survey shows that thinking about end-of-life planning and actually doing the planning are not the same. Even though many people have thought about what they want to happen to them in certain health situations, they do not put their desires on paper. That's true even though most think that creating a tangible plan is a good idea.

A recent study out of California found that more than 80 percent of the patients surveyed believe that creating end-of-life plans is important. So why did a significant minority of people in that same group not have that document that they supposedly believe is so important?

Medical professionals suggest that too many people avoid having real conversations about their end-of-life wishes because, obviously, it isn't really a pleasant subject matter to focus on. Most don't want to think about getting sick or that they will die someday. It is the older demographic that tends to actually create an advance directive because it isn't as easy to deny one's mortality once of a certain age.

Some from the medical field believe that doctors should play a role in helping increase the number of people who take action and create advance medical directives. Particularly for aging patients, the end-of-life conversation should be part of a doctor's visit. In the end, a living will truly is about medical care and one's quality of life. A trusted medical professional is a fitting resource for encouragement to create a plan.

Our Harrisburg estate planning and elder law practice can help those who have made the decision to take action toward planning for the future and create a living will.

Source: American Medical News, "76% of patients neglect end-of-life care planning," Kevin B. O'Reilly, Feb. 27, 2013


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