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Peaceful Transitions: Plan Now, Die Later--Ironclad Strategy
by:Stanley A. Terman PhD MD
What are the greatest end-of-life fears? Days to weeks of unending, unbearable pain and suffering. Months to years of lingering in Advanced Dementia.Worse: you may suffer from BOTH. This book's brief review shows traditional Living Wills do NOT remove these fears. Yet two legal rights let you forgo spoon feeding--if someday you suffer from Advanced...
What are the greatest end-of-life fears? Days to weeks of unending, unbearable pain and suffering. Months to years of lingering in Advanced Dementia.Worse: you may suffer from BOTH. This book's brief review shows traditional Living Wills do NOT remove these fears. Yet two legal rights let you forgo spoon feeding--if someday you suffer from Advanced Dementia. Refusing life-sustaining treatment is a well-accepted choice, but this decision alone cannot help patients whose devastated brains are in healthy bodies. What can? Natural Dying, which includes forgoing spoon feeding while receiving all Comfort Care.Some argue spoon feeding is basic care and thus obligatory. This book presents clinical reasons why spoon feeding is medical treatment. A Catholic priest/health ethicist's guest essay explains why religious patients may refuse spoon feeding if a condition makes treatment extraordinary or disproportionate. --Comforting arguments, if you wish to respect the sanctity of life but do not want to prolong dying if there is no other life-sustaining treatment to forgo. The companion book, Peaceful Transitions: Stories of Success and Compassion, describes the powerful opposition to Natural Dying. This book shows how to overcome their challenges to make sure others will honor your Known Wishes by creating your ''ironclad strategy'': How to select an appropriate proxy/agent. How to complete several forms (and why all are necessary). How to alert 9-1-1 first responders and make your most current forms available when critical decisions need to be made.A story shows how a hypothetical person's ironclad strategy successfully overcame a series of challenges. He started planning at age 45 and attained his goal of a PEACEFUL TRANSITION that was also TIMELY: neither prolonged nor premature at age 90.To construct the Four Pillars of your ironclad strategy NOW, while you still can:I. YOU express your specific Known Wishes in a clear and convincing Natural Dying--Living Will. This legal form lists your criteria for future conditions so your proxy/agent and physician will know precisely WHEN you would want Natural Dying. Either sort the optional My Way Cards or use the Criteria of Advanced Dementia for Natural Dying listed in the companion book, Stories.II. Your PHYSICIAN and you sign two forms to verify your informed consent... for Natural Dying, so you can avoid lingering for months to years in Advanced Dementia, and for Sedation to Unconsciousness, so you can avoid days to weeks of unending, unbearable pain and suffering.III. Your PROXY/AGENT and you sign an irrevocable agreement, to give your proxy/agent extra power to make sure all will honor your Known Wishes.IV. A NOTARY PUBLIC affirms your sworn or affirmed Natural Dying Affidavit, to give your proxy/agent a ''trump card'' if needed to get others to honor your Known Wishes.The book also notes the threat of new Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) forms that are highly promoted. The problem? Many POLST forms can override your prior, diligently created Living Will. The book offers a specific strategy to overcome this threat.No group of people has more urgency to establish an ironclad strategy than those whose risk of dementia is high. Here is information on how readers can determine--in private--if they may have just a little dementia or mild cognitive impairment.If your goals are ambitious for the last chapter of life, it will take extra effort to deal with all these challenges. But after you complete your ironclad strategy, you can relax and enjoy the rest of your life without worrying if others will force you to suffer a premature or prolonged dying.
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