Apr 11

End-of-Life Issues Q&A Session


We had four terrific panelists and a very interested audience at our recent end-of-life issues Q&A session.

The panelists made it pretty clear that everyone should have a discussion with family members regarding end-of-life wishes AND express them in a formal form. For your convenience we’ve compiled a glossary of terms (which we will keep updating) and online resources, as well as some hospice information.

Living Will – Oldest type of advance directive. It is a signed, witnessed (or notarized) document, which instruct an attending physician to withhold or withdraw medical interventions from its signer if he has a terminal condition or is in a permanent vegetative state. Since the document is so vague and the attending physician may be unfamiliar with the signer’s views and values, the document can be interpreted by the physician in a manner that was not intended by its signer.

Power of Attorney for Healthcare (needs to meet state requirements) – the most protective and the most flexible type of advance directive. With this legal document, you designate someone else to make health care decisions on your behalf if you are ever temporarily of permanently unable to make those decisions for yourself. This may, but need not be, a family member.

Protective Medical Decisions Document (PMDD) from the Patients Rights Council: power of attorney for health care designed to meet state requirements. In CA it requires two witnesses. Please read more about it at PatientsRightsCouncil.org.

Another good resource for Advance Directives:

Robert Powell Center for Medical Ethics – National Right to Life
Search for * Suggestions for Preparing Will to Live -Durable Power of Attorney, * Advance Health Care Directive
Statutory Form (California Probate Code Section 4701)
POLST – Physician’s Order for Life Sustaining Treatment. It’s more in-depth than the Advanced Directive and an important form for people with chronic illnesses that will take them to the end of their lives. It is always voluntary and depending on the jurisdiction, a physician, nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant signs the completed form. POLST doesn’t require witnesses and it goes into effect immediately. You may want to talk to your doctor for more information about this.


Myths and Facts about Hospice Care – provided by Optimal Hospice Care

The following information was provided by Dignity Health Mercy/Memorial Hospitals Hospice:

Since 1910 Mercy Hospital has been meeting the needs of Bakersfield to Kern County residents. Hospice care continues this tradition and furthers the vision of the founding Sisters Of Mercy by extending care to those with life limiting illness. Hospice Does Not mean Giving up. Hospice is the “something more” that can be done. It is a health care approach to provide physical, spiritual and psycho-social support that allows the patient (and family) to self determine life closure. We Honor Life. Our mission is to surround people at the end of life with the same love, dignity and support that we do at the beginning of life. Our hospice nurses are on call 24-hours a day, seven days  a week. Other team members are available to meet the needs of you and your entire family. Hospice care is a supplement to the care a family or caregiver provides. Our hospice team will teach what to expect before care needs change. Hospice services can be provided in any environment including a patient’s home, assisted living or skilled nursing facility. For your Peace of Mind, we are dedicated to aggressively preventing and treating pain and symptoms so that you may have quality of life in your living. You can discharge from hospice and return to aggressive or curative treatment if you wish, and resume hospice at a later time. Benefits of hospice are more fully enjoyed when a patient begins hospice care as soon as the focus moves from cure to comfort. You do not have to be home bound to receive hospice services. Mercy Hospice is a Non-Profit Hospice and is committed to furthering the healing ministry of Jesus. Generations of Kern County residents have been cared for with the same Spirit as the founders of Mercy.

1 comment

  1. Joel Torczon

    Thank you for the valuable information. Priests for Life also has a “Will to Live” for purchase at this link: https://www.priestsforlife.org/store/c-54-will-to-live.aspx

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>