Does anyone have any advice on making a Catholic Advance Directive?


#1

Hello everyone. Over the past couple of years, my health has declined a great deal. After going to my Neurologist a couple of weeks ago and receiving a pamphlet about Advance Directives, I decided that I need to make an Advance Directive. But here’s the thing, I have no idea how to do so. Also, I looked at some forms online but none of them mention anything about spiritual care. I basically want to make some kind of legal document that states that if I am unable to communicate my wishes concerning my medical treatment that I want to receive all medical care necessary to sustain my life, especially food and water. I also want to make it known that if such a thing happens to me that I absolutely want a Catholic priest to visit me in order to give me the Anointing of the Sick, the Eucharist, or Last Rites in the event that I am near death. What kind of advice do you all have?


#2

an advance directive is unwise for anyone, according to Catholic attorneys and doctors who advice our local prolife group. AD makes assumptions and predictions about what might happen. A much better choice is executing a health care power of attorney with a trusted relative who would make decisions should you become unable, and to discuss your wishes with them. This of course would be someone who thoroughly understands and accepts Catholic teaching on end of life issues. And just making such a document now, when you are not even ailing or hospitalized or in that situation does not make much sense unless you make sure those who would make those decisions have access to it.


#3

[quote="Holly3278, post:1, topic:234818"]
Hello everyone. Over the past couple of years, my health has declined a great deal. After going to my Neurologist a couple of weeks ago and receiving a pamphlet about Advance Directives, I decided that I need to make an Advance Directive. But here's the thing, I have no idea how to do so. Also, I looked at some forms online but none of them mention anything about spiritual care. I basically want to make some kind of legal document that states that if I am unable to communicate my wishes concerning my medical treatment that I want to receive all medical care necessary to sustain my life, especially food and water. I also want to make it known that if such a thing happens to me that I absolutely want a Catholic priest to visit me in order to give me the Anointing of the Sick, the Eucharist, or Last Rites in the event that I am near death. What kind of advice do you all have?

[/quote]

Yes, I agree with puzzleannie, you have to be cautious about things like this when it comes through government regulation or "encouragement." Your doctor was probably mandated to give you that pamphlet - did you know that under "Obamacare," the elderly will be given end of life planning on a regular basis? This is not the government's business but of course health care costs have become the government's business. I would be very cautious and instead use a power of attorney. You can get legal advice and tell the lawyer that you want all necessary means used to maintain your life and ameliorate any pain, and the person you give power of attorney to can arrange for a priest to visit you. If you have a good Catholic hospital nearby, and you aren't somewhere else if you have an emergency, you can ask that you be brought there. Then you will also have the hospital on your side if something happens.

This is a very good topic to discuss, I worry about this quite a bit, because of the stress on "allowing" people to die when they are comatose, etc. I have heard that the push for transplantable organs is so fierce that perhaps some patients aren't being given time to recover before being taken off life support.:eek: I want to have every chance before they remove all the machines. I hate it when someone says, "Well, I don't want to be a vegetable!" :mad: People are NEVER vegetables even when we aren't conscious!!

Anyway I'll stop now and urge the OP to do some more reading about advanced directives and powers of attorney.


#4

American Life League, www.all.org, has a kit that is pro-life and in conformity with Catholic teaching.

Click here for link.


#5

[quote="1ke, post:4, topic:234818"]
American Life League, www.all.org, has a kit that is pro-life and in conformity with Catholic teaching.

Click here for link.

[/quote]

Excellent page!!!! Thank you, I'm going to send for this right away!

:thumbsup:


#6

My health is not good either, and so I have put this into place:

miamiarchdiocese.org/Atimo_s/news/LifeDeathE.pdf

I have almost convinced the surrogate to use a Sharpie to write "Call A Catholic Priest" on my forehead should I ever become unable to do so myself.

I'm not joking.


#7

[quote="puzzleannie, post:2, topic:234818"]
. And just making such a document now, when you are not even ailing or hospitalized or in that situation does not make much sense unless you make sure those who would make those decisions have access to it.

[/quote]

Actually, everyone should have one. In California, they are called a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care. Other states might call them differently. But what it does is designate who you want to make health care decisions for you if you become incapable of making them for yourself. And this can happen to anyone at anytime. A car accident can cause a traumatic brain injury and cause you to be unable to speak for yourself, or any number of things can happen to a young healthy person.

Your designee needs to know that they have been named, and they should have a copy of the document. So should your physician. Other people in your family should know about it and where to find a copy should the need arise. If anything were to happen, it would then be the designee to make the health care decisions. By law, it is incumbent on the designee to make decisions based on what they know your wishes are. So its important to outline your wishes to the designee. It is also a good idea to put those wishes in writing just in case your designee has to go up against someone who has different ideas. I can't tell you the number of times I had to referee arguments between family members who wanted something for mom or dad, but the designee was the one in charge. Once a person becomes mentally incapacitated, it is too late to name a designee. I also had to referee when family members wanted to swoop in to demented mom and have her sign that they were in charge. By doing the document well ahead of need, you can make sure you choose who would be the most level headed person in a crisis, and who you can trust to carry out your wishes.


#8

You need to talk to a lawyer in your state. Look for one that handles Estate Planning and they will be able to help you get what you need. I work as an attorney in and Estate Planning firm and we have several documents for such situations that comply with the teachings of the Catholic Faith.

Make a list of what you are concerned about and what you want to make sure happens (Anointing of the Sick, etc) and take it with you when you meet the attorney and tell him your concerns. He might tell you it can be included in the Power of Attorney for Healthcare or he might say you should leave a letter of instruction to your agent so they know what to do.

Good luck!


#9

My husband and I both have one. It names the other and our parents in that order as our power of attorney if we cannot make decisions for ourselves. We have discussed with all parties involved what we want done in various situations. I was paranoid going into labor the first time about having one, and discusses with both my husband and mother that if it came to a choice they were to save my daughter.


#10

[quote="puzzleannie, post:2, topic:234818"]
an advance directive is unwise for anyone, according to Catholic attorneys and doctors who advice our local prolife group. AD makes assumptions and predictions about what might happen. A much better choice is executing a health care power of attorney with a trusted relative who would make decisions should you become unable, and to discuss your wishes with them. This of course would be someone who thoroughly understands and accepts Catholic teaching on end of life issues. And just making such a document now, when you are not even ailing or hospitalized or in that situation does not make much sense unless you make sure those who would make those decisions have access to it.

[/quote]

First off, everyone (including college kids and middle age mothers) should have a Health Care Power of Attorney to name an agent who can act when they cannot. If you wait until you are ailing or in a hospital- you may very well be too late. You cannot sign a power of attorney if you have lost the mental capacity to make legal decisions. What happens then is your loving family has to go to court and have a Guardianship and Conservatorship to care for you. It is very expensive, time consuming and it puts a Judge in charge of your care. The Guardian and Conservators may be required to ask the Judge to approve any and all decisions, they are required by law in most states to file yearly accountings and reports with the court. Do everyone a favor and make sure you have a Health Care Power of Attorney put in place before you are sick. Put it in your file cabinet- trust me that will be the first place they look.

As for an AD being "unwise"- AD (or Living Wills) can be customize to the beliefs of the client. That is like saying "Eating food is unwise." It is so general as to be useless.


#11

Guidelines for a Catholic Living Will may be obtained from priestsforlife.com. A living will is a medical directive that appoints a medical surrogate to function on your behalf should you be incapable of communicating your wishes to medical professionals as a consequence of unconsciousness of incapacity. The guidelines that I have referenced follow Catholic teaching and will assist you in making preparations. As a catholic attorney, I teach the document as a part of our parish Pro Life activities. You are compassionate to address this vital issue at this time so that your loved ones will not be called upon to second guess what your wishes would have been - an often agonizing series of decisions unless the topic is discussed openly and completely, which is most often not the case.


#12

whilst living in england i donot know ammerican law however i have worked for 3 years in end of life care and so seen the results of variouce 'plans' all have one major flaw . the ability to enforce them at the time appropriate.
one of the saddest cases i was involved in was when a key patient of mine took faitally ill . not only had she signed the official paperwork regarding resusitation and the length of time she desired to be left on life supourt she had also gave power of atourney in health and religouce issues to her daughter should she become incapasitated. According to her wishes i prayed with her when she fell unconsiouce and when she stopped brething the head nurse and i took it in turns to preform cpr while we were waiting for the defib unit. saddly upon arrival the defib unit assesed her as non viable (due to her age) and didnot attempt to ressusitate her electricaly, despite protests from both myself and the head nurse . to aggrivate situations we were prevented from calling the preist and by the time we had made succesfull contact with the daughter the police had escorted the body to a mortury (having been callled by an atheist member of the defib unit who was thought our insistance on resucitation and the a preast was suspiciouce) the body was the subjected to two post mortems before being released to the family. (all because the atheist belived that the dead dont need preists so we were obviocly trying to tamper with evidence of some sort !) had the daughter been contactable then the above wouldnt have occured unfortunatly the serioucly ill and dying dont hold on for office hours. dying in the midle of the night or when the power of atourny is on holiday is a recipie for your requests to be overruled . and those peices of paper are not worth the ink they are writen with if something happens after the office has been locked for the night .

There is one thing that does work however . we had one old gentleman who had tatooed on his chest " unpon dying you must resusitate but may not medicate (exept for morphine) and a priest will be present to minister the last rites . anyone found in breach of this will be sued. signed blogs witnesed right honerable judge doe"
when his time came (3 am saturday) the defib teem open his shirt went wite and imediatly started resusitation, the gentalman was transfered to ICU and he died two months later having received the last rites just as he wished. Given his age and medical history this gentalman would have been, after a quick check on his heart, classed as non viable. the tatoo may not have been prity or orthadox but it worked.


#13

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