This weekend families across the world will be celebrating Easter. Some people mark the holiday by going to church. Others will be out to brunch with family. Kids will be painting eggs. This holiday is a celebration of the day when Jesus of Nazareth rose from the dead. His resurrection is a miracle.
The story of Jesus’ miracle and the holiday of Easter provides a great opportunity for families to discuss end of life, and their wishes. Lets face it, most of us won’t rise from the dead. Our mortality is an uncomfortable subject, but its one we need to talk about. Every year about 25% of medicare spending is on end of life care. Dying is expensive. And it is hard for families to make the decision to remove artificial care. At what point should you? In most hopeless situations, our society’s standard procedure is to continue all medical measures unless the patient clearly stated other wishes. According to the American Psychology Association only 25% of Americans have a living will or an advanced directive (despite the fact that 100% of Americans will, at some point, die).
I recently made the decision to remove this burden from my family, by filling out an advanced care directive. I don’t expect to be able to rise from the dead, and I don’t want to burden my family with making this hard life decision.
Some of the decisions I’ve made are:
- If I am brain dead and the doctors believe my recovery is hopeless, I don’t want to be hooked up to life support
- If my organs can be used to save another life then I want that to happen
On this holiday where we celebrate resurrection, let’s have an honest conversation with our families about our wishes at the end of our life. These conversations have been shown to lower the cost of end of life care and improve quality of death.
Start the conversation. And fill out your own advanced care directive.