What types of end-of-life care issues does a living will address in St. Petersburg Florida?

Mar 17, 2020 1:05 AM ET

Florida estate planning not only includes actions to be taken after a person’s death with regard to their assets and liabilities, but it also spells out the actions to be taken for an individual’s medical care in the event they cannot speak for themselves.  A Florida estate planning attorney can help with the completion of these very important documents to make sure common scenarios are spelled out in the living will.

Common end-of-life care decisions that could be outlined in a living will include:

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to restart a heart when it stops beating. Determine if and when resuscitation by CPR or a device that stimulates the heart should be undertaken.
Mechanical ventilation takes over breathing when someone is unable to breathe on their own. Be clear about if, and how long a person should be on a ventilator.
Tube feeding supplies the body with nutrients and fluids intravenously or via a tube in the stomach. Clarify if, and how long tube feeding should continue.
Dialysis removes waste from your blood and manages fluid levels if your kidneys no longer function. Specify if, and how long treatment should continue.
Antibiotics or antiviral medications can be used to treat many infections. Determine if treatment should be undertaken.
Comfort care (palliative care) includes any number of interventions that may be used to keep an individual comfortable and manage pain, including wishes to die at home, receiving pain medications, oral relief with ice chips to soothe mouth dryness, and avoiding invasive tests or treatments.
Organ and tissue donations for transplantation can be specified in a living will. If organs are removed for donation, life-sustaining treatment may continue temporarily until the procedure is complete.
Donating a body for scientific study also can be specified.

Do not resuscitate – do not intubate.

An individual does not need to have an advance directive or living will to have do not resuscitate (DNR) and do not intubate (DNI) orders. To establish DNR or DNI orders, inform a doctor about these preferences so they can write an order and keep it as part of a medical record.  Even if a living will already has established resuscitation and intubation preferences, it is still a good idea to establish DNR or DNI orders each time a person is admitted to a new hospital or health care facility.

Creating advance directives.

In Florida, this essential documentation is sometimes called a medical directive or advance directive, and covers an individual, or family members regarding medical power of attorney and do not resuscitate orders and two documents, including the durable power of attorney which designated someone to conduct business on behalf of another, will fulfill legal functions toward care delivery.

Document storage.

Keep the originals in a safe but easily accessible place, a copy should be given to individual’s doctor, healthcare agent, and informed family members.  It is safe to carry a wallet-sized card indicating advance directives and identifying a health care agent.

Hire an attorney.

 

Estate planning is important to secure your assets, and keep loved ones from further undue hardship after a death.  The living will documents reveal end of life wishes, and direction on medical care.  This legal planning should be undertaken with the assistance of an experienced attorney at Baby Boomers’ Barrister Law Firm in St. Petersburg Florida.

 

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