I have strongly advocated for education on, and the importance of, Advance Directives. Recently, I read an article about a study conducted with nursing homes about the effects of poor record keeping for Advance Directives and the practices and costs associated with the lack of effective utilization.
“Evidence suggests that advance directives improve the dying experience for nursing home residents and decrease the cost of end-of-life care while honoring residents’ expressed wishes about health care. However, at the national level, only 65% -70% of nursing home residents have advanced directives.”
Advance Directives are legal documents that express a person’s preferences for treatment in the event of a serious illness or injury. This set of documents speaks for the patient when they are not able to. Ohio’s Advance Directives consists of:
- Living Will
- Healthcare Power of Attorney
- DNR (Do Not Resuscitate)
- Organ Donation
The article also went on to mention that in the 1800 files they examined, approximately 50% indicated that residents had the directives but the actual documents were not in many of those files.
“There is no reason for adults not to have an advance directive and most nursing home residents should have an advance directive on file to ensure that they receive the type of end-of-life care they desire. People can enact an advance directive at age 18, which is a good time to start thinking about what their wishes would be during an emergency.”
As a person who has worked in nursing care for over a decade, I witness the importance of having these documents in place. For example, if a nursing home resident goes out to the hospital, a copy of the advance directives from the patient file should go with them, especially if the family is not readily available to accompany the resident or meet the resident at the hospital. These are easy things to do and ensure that the resident receives the care and treatment they prefer.
Understanding the importance and relevance of Ohio’s Advance Directives is something that benefits us all. For more information, visit http://ohiohospitals.org/advance-directives.
You can also find information about Ohio’s Advance Directives & other helpful planning tools on our dedicated caregiver website: www.thecaregivingtree.com/ advanced-planning/