National Hospice Month: Living Wills

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RAPID CITY, S.D. -

The holidays are a prime time for family get-togethers and serve as an opportunity for important conversations. Dr. Andrea Baier, Regional Health hospice and palliative medicine physician, say it's important to plan for end-of-life care, both for you and your family. 

An advanced directive, often called a living will, is a legal document that allows you to spell out your decisions about end-of-life care. While the law varies from state to state, it can help avoid confusion for your family, friends, and healthcare professionals.

Baier explains that sharing your wishes with your family is a gift for them during what is always a difficult time. The best time to talk about your wishes is when those who love you most are all together. Then, you can record those wishes in an advanced directive.

Some of the considerations involved include: the use of dialysis or breathing machines, if you want to be resuscitated if your breathing or heartbeat stops, your thoughts on tube feeding, and whether you want to be an organ and tissue donor. 

Every year, some 12 million Americans need home services due to illness, disability, or end-of-life care. Regional Health provides home health, and with their 12-bed Hospice House, they provide end-of-life care for people who are terminally ill. 

For more information on this subject, call 605-755-4663. 

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