The basics of the coronavirus have become clear for most of us — wash your hands, tay at home, stay informed (but not too much), and take care of yourself. While these are all essential elements of survival during the global pandemic currently sweeping through our world, legal professionals and doctors would like you to add one more thing to that list: talk with your loved ones about your preferences and what you would need to feel at peace at the end of life.
It is crucial to understand what is important to them if they are in the very last phase of their life, in large part because Covid-19 is such a quickly-spreading, fast-moving, rapidly-destructive virus that you may not have the time you want to have the conversation you need to have about this. If you or your loved one went to a hospital with symptoms and upon triage the doctors and nurses found oxygen levels were so low that ICU-level care was required immediately, you may not have the chance to talk with them, or them with you, about what your wishes are.
You may not even have the chance to see them if you are being whisked off to the ICU. Many families have reported this as a very real part of having a family member with Covid-19. There is no way to visit or communicate. There is no way to ask about what you would like to have done for you. And your family, coming from a place of love and adoration for you, may miscommunicate your wishes.
These aren’t easy conversations to have. We know this. And as your local Peachtree law firm, we strive to provide an atmosphere of helpful support and understanding so that you can have these conversations. It’s never too soon to consider your final wishes, especially in a time dominated by the presence of a fast-acting, deadly virus in our lives. You may want to have these conversations in an attorney’s presence so that your wishes can be documented and presented if necessary.
These conversations should be about your and their hopes, for sure. They should include best case scenarios as well as more difficult ones. They should also include a discussion about finances, decision-making, and even basic fears. These can be extremely difficult talks, but there is truly no better time for them — without any kids to pick up from school, extracurriculars to keep track of, and during a time when our attention spans are actually growing in breadth and longevity. This is a great time to pick up the phone and call, Zoom, or FaceTime with those who you love the most, and to begin this dialogue.
If it gets heated, upsetting or too difficult, we recommend contacting your local Peachtree law firm so that all parties feel and are supported and understood in their concerns. In the days ahead, there is a very real chance you may need to know the answers to these questions. Attorneys know what pertinent questions to ask, and those specializing in elder law can help you navigate the stress points and difficulties while still putting together a highly effective plan for you and your loved ones.
ER doctors disclose that they see patients arrive all the time in no condition to tell them their wishes, and no documentation of those wishes from when they were well enough to make those decisions. The stories are heartbreaking, because even though they did everything they could, they sometimes found out later that it wasn’t what the patient would have wanted.
Stories abound: the 68-year old woman who wanted to be comfortable at the end of her life instead of having all efforts made to save her, who was intubated because the doctor was informed erroneously. The patient who wanted to die at home, but was admitted to the hospital. The extensive conversation between an ER doctor and a patient’s wife trying to determine his goals, when it could have been made clear with just a little of the correct information.
We know what the right information is, how to address it, and how to approach making sure that the right people are informed and your wishes are appropriately documented. We’re happy to meet by phone or video conference if it makes you more comfortable. We want to do everything in our power to make sure that you and your loved ones are empowered. Contact your local Peachtree law firm today.