An Advance Directive: Your Life on Your Terms
Whether you're 18 or 80, documenting your healthcare wishes means your family won't have to make difficult, heart wrenching decisions on their own. Know your options, decide what's right for you, and then put it in writing.
This was the message from Cindy Bruzzese, executive director of the Vermont Ethics Network, to a standing room only crowd in Middlebury. The presentation, sponsored by Addison County Home Health & Hospice, Porter Medical Center, Helen Porter Healthcare & Rehabilitation, and Hospice Volunteer Services, answered questions about end of life decision making and advance directives.
Advance directives are a way of making your voice heard when you are unable to (or do not wish to) make decisions. They allow you to appoint someone as your health care agent to make your end of life and other healthcare decisions for you. It is any written communication from you, properly signed and witnessed, that speaks about your future wishes and preferences for treatment.
Advance directives are not just for the elderly. All people who desire to direct their medical care in the future should complete an advance directive. An advance directive does not mean, "do not treat." This is a common misperception and is incorrect. If you wish to limit or end treatment, this is something that your healthcare agent or surrogate needs to know.
It’s important to share your advanced directive with your caregiver, family and physician. In addition, the Vermont Advance Directive Registry (VADR) is a secure database service that stores a scanned copy of your advance directive electronically so that it can be found immediately by any hospital or doctor who is treating you in an emergency. Information on participating in the registry is included on the advance directive form or online at the Vermont Department of Health.
For a hard copy of the Advanced Directive form, please contact:
• Addison County Home Health & Hospice (802) 388-7259
• Helen Porter Healthcare & Rehabilitation Center (802) 388-4001
• Hospice Volunteer Services (802) 388-4111
• Porter Medical Center (802) 388-4701
• Vermont Ethics Network (802) 828-2909 or www.vtethicsnetwork.org
The Vermont Ethics Network presentation was recorded and will air on Middlebury Community Television. To view the program or check for broadcast times, visit www.middleburycommunitytv.org.
About End of Life Series
Sponsored by Porter Hospital, Helen Porter Healthcare & Rehabilitation Center, Hospice Volunteer Services and Addison County Home Health & Hospice the End of Life Series is a community education and conversation series on honoring life through its end. All presentations are held at the Middlebury Volunteer Ambulance Association Community Room, 6:30-8 pm. For more information please call Public Relations at Porter Hospital (802) 388-4738 or email Laurie Borden. This series is free and open to the public.