EnjoyBeing (enjoybeing) wrote,
EnjoyBeing
enjoybeing

VA booklet: Your Life, Your Choices -- aka "the death book"

Have you heard anything about the so-called "death book" being given to Vets? 

The booklet is called -
Your Life, Your Choices: Planning for Future Medical Decisions: How to Prepare a Personalized Living Will

Are you blindly listening to the rhetoric about it, or have you seen it yourself

Read it here as a pdf.

I'm looking at it right now, and it doesn't appear to be a "death book" at all... but is a booklet that can help anyone ask tough questions about what YOUR wishes are if you are unable to make your own health care decisions - due to stroke, dementia or a coma, for example.  

The booklet has exercises "to help you specify your beliefs and values" as to what you want for your health care.

One of the questions is "If you couldn't speak for yourself, what would you want done for you?" then it has a series of statements to consider whether you agree with or not, including:
 - My life should be prolonged as long as it can, no matter what its quality, and using any means possible.
 - I'd want my religious advisers to be consulted about all medical decisions made on my behalf to make sure they are in keeping with my religious teachings.
 - I'd want to have my pain controlled, even if the medications make me sleepy and make it difficult to have conversations with my family.
 - My personal wishes would not be as important as what my family thinks is best for me.
 - I believe there are some situations in which I would not want treatments to keep me alive.

Then, you, the reader are encouraged to discuss your answers with others so that they know what is important to you with regard to your own health care decisions...  

The workbook also encourages talking about your wishes with whoever might be called upon to speak for you, if you're unable to speak for yourself.  They suggest you may want to talk about your health care wishes to your spokesperson (if you choose one), family, friends, clergy, health care providers, and/or other caregivers. 

It includes a list of nine topics you might want to discuss with your loved ones and care providers:
1. Your choice of a spokesperson (if you choose one)
2. Your beliefs
3. Health conditions (how you feel about certain health conditions, and what you want done if you can't speak for yourself)
4. Life-sustaining treatments (how you feel about certain treatments)
5. Your vision of a good death (do you want to die with your family by your side if possible? tell them!)
6. Organ donation
7. Funeral arrangements (do you want to be cremated? do you want a particular reading at your memorial service?)
8. Documentation of your wishes (if you have your health care wishes written down, tell someone so they know where to find it if needed)
9. Helping others use your personalized directive (do you want your wishes followed to the letter, or do you want your wishes used as a general guide?)

Tags: death, health care, links, living will
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