This is because well over 30 years ago she made a Will, a Living Will, gave one of her daughters Power of Attorney, and, best of all, continued to update her paperwork as her health deteriorated and needs changed. She had named several Health Care Proxies in the past decade as she declined, and, near the end, organized her own DRN order with her doctor, which she proudly displayed on her refrigerator! There was nothing worse in her mind than well-meaning Emergency Services being called and not knowing her wishes if no one was there.
Her last few months were not easy, but having all the documents – filed where we could find them — gave her family peace of mind that we were doing the right things. But, most importantly, it gave us precious quality time with her instead of being overly burdened with bureaucratic red tape, doubts and guilt.
There is so much we don’t know about the healthcare maze and have to learn very quickly when someone gets ill or becomes incapacitated. I found that nurses and other professionals were often reluctant to share information with close friends and extended family. If possible, there must be a designated next of kin or healthcare proxy who can take a consensus from other family members if required, but, ultimately, has the authority to make decisions.