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Planning ahead for your healthcare needs is far better than trying to make decisions in the middle of a medical emergency.

Clearly documenting your healthcare preferences can help avoid unwanted hospitalization and medical treatments that could undermine your comfort and the natural death process at the end of life.

Most people say they would like to die peacefully at home surrounded by their family. And yet most people actually die in an institutional setting, often surrounded by strangers and medical equipment. Hospice and palliative care are designed to allow you to spend your last days in comfort, ideally at home supported by family and friends.

Why Do It
1. A durable power of attorney for healthcare lets you designate a health care agent to make medical decisions on your behalf if you’re not able to make them yourself.
2. Healthcare advance directives can help ensure that at the end of your life you’ll receive only those treatments or medical procedures that you actually want.
3. Healthcare directives can relieve your family from having to make the decision of whether to “pull the plug” if you are being kept alive on life support systems.

If You Don’t
1. Without a health care agent to make decisions on your behalf, medical personnel will have to make those decisions for you.
2. If you don’t have advance directives, your life could be prolonged by medical equipment and artificial feeding beyond the point you wish to be kept alive.
3. Without healthcare directives, there could be arguments within your family about how long to maintain your life using artificial means.

Healthcare Issues
Durable power of attorney for healthcare
Health insurance
Healthcare advance directives
Hospice care providers
Long-term care insurance