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Planning for the Future with Advance Directives

When a loved one is facing traumatic medical issues, the burden often times falls on the family. But a simple document can bring some relief to otherwise stressful situations.
The conversation isn't easy to have.

"If I'm not able to make decisions by myself, and someone's acting on my behalf, this is what I would want them to know, if I was in a terminal condition," says Katherine Lewis, Hendrick Medical Center.

Lewis says it's not something you can sweep aside for later discussion.

"It's extremely important for those ages 18 to 108 to complete this document," Lewis explains.

The process is called advance directives, sometimes referred to as living wills, and according to Lewis, here in the Big Country, we're not thinking or talking about it enough.

"Overall we really have a low percentage in our community who enter our hospital with an advance directive," Lewis says.

And the reason? People either wait until it's too late, or Lewis says, sometimes superstition comes into play.

"There's this myth behind advance directives that people think 'if I complete this, then it means I'm gonna die,' or 'I'm gonna jinks myself.' So we connect advance directives to death," Lewis explains.

But instead of focusing on death, Lewis says, advance directives are really about life--quality of life that is.

"Children can come to the table, and instead of making decisions for dad, we're honoring dad. I've really seen advance directives as a tool to lighten the burden on families," Lewis tells us.

A tool in the form of a simple document, that can hopefully evolve to a necessary conversation.

Click here for more information on advance directives.
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