Rev. Scott: You're right to encourage people to complete an advance directive, and also right to note that few do. One reason is that, as you note, people are often unfamiliar with the medical and legal terms. Many people have found our Five Wishes advance directive is a way of both starting the conversation, designating a health care agent, and giving that person instruction on what is wanted or not wanted. There are over 15 million in national circulation, distributed by some 23,000 partner organizations including churches. Learn more at www.agingwithdignity.org. --Paul Malley, President, Aging with Dignity
Mr. Malley has pointed to one good resource, and I thought it worthwhile to link it, and a couple of others.
- Five Wishes from Aging with Dignity. Mr Malley has pointed to perhaps the best known single program nationwide for not only making decisions about health care, but actually thinking them through.
- The Caring Conversations program of the Center for Practical Bioethics. While I'm especially proud of the Kansas City-based Center for Practical Bioethics, the Center is nationally recognized in promoting advance directive planning. The Caring Conversations program makes available in print or for download a workbook and forms in English and Spanish, as well as specialized workbooks for young adults and for aging military veterans.
- The Advance Directive page from Caring Conversations, a program of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO). NHPCO is one of the best known organizations supporting hospice and palliative care in the United States. A feature of their page is a list of links allowing the user to download forms acceptable in each of the fifty states and the District of Columbia.