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Advance directives: make one

By Miriam Hodgman

10712467_10152589623285939_4753854114917529370_oNovember is National Hospice and Palliative Care Month and Saint Mary’s Hospice emphasizes the importance of having an “end-of-life plan” that dictates patients’ wishes about the care they receive.

Establishing legal documents to guide the medical decision-making process can be confusing for patients, but now it doesn’t have to be.

Advance directives can be short, simple statements that can be reviewed by a doctor or lawyer to guarantee they’re understood exactly as intended. Once completed, the orders should be notarized if possible, and copies should be given to family members and a doctor.

They are not just for older adults. Because unexpected situations can happen at any age, all adults should have some sort of medical order. Advance directives and living wills do not have to be complicated legal documents.

Advance directives — living wills and healthcare powers of attorney — are valuable tools initiating medical care decisions including which treatments should be accepted or refused. Having written health care preferences and instructions help reduce confusion or disagreement.

Saint Mary’s Hospice encourages the community to be proactive about communicating their medical care wishes and ensuring a desirable quality of life. To learn more about medical orders guiding end-of-life care or to complete an advance directive, please call 775-770-3081 or visit saintmarysreno.com.

Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center based in Reno, Nevada, is a 380-bed acute care and general medical/surgical hospital providing quality patient care since 1908. Nationally recognized and accredited by the Joint Commission, Saint Mary’s offers a robust line of services including a top-rated Center for Cancer featuring the region’s only CyberKnife radiosurgery delivery system, state-of-the-art William N. Pennington Emergency Room and Senior ER and a Cardiology Program dedicated to long-term wellness.

The health system also operates a fully-integrated Medical Group with six primary care offices, four urgent care facilities and two retail clinics and a state-of-the-art Center for Health & Fitness. As a long-standing community partner, Saint Mary’s is dedicated to ensuring the health and wellness of northern Nevada remains strong. For more information, visit www.saintmarysreno.com.

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