Every day in the hospitals across the country that we lead and operate, the lack of a “living will” or “medical power of attorney” significantly contributes to divisive conflict within families huddled over dying loved ones. One child insists that mom or dad just wants to be left alone to go peacefully without complex, uncomfortable and sometimes painful treatments that won't change the inevitable. Another child insists that the parent wants everything that can be done to be done, even if the chances for survival are dismal.
Of course, healthcare leaders are well aware that a solution to this emotionally and financially draining scenario is a relatively easy action that can have an immediate impact: Make sure those two documents are completed and accessible. The short time spent preparing them has a very real potential to significantly improve the quality of life, provide peace of mind and dignity for families—and decrease healthcare costs.