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Advance directives are important for Kent area residents

Many people in the Kent area know someone who has been affected by a medical emergency. Although it can be rare, a medical emergency in which a person becomes incapacitated can happen to anyone. A person can be in a car accident, fall, construction accident or other unexpected situation in which they are seriously injured. In these serious medical emergencies, having an advanced medical directive plan in place is important.

Although many people think estate planning is for when they get older, estate planning has aspects for any age, including medical directives. A medical advance directive, also known as a "living will," is a document that lists what medical interventions a person would want performed on them to keep them alive. When creating a living will, a person should think about what kind of quality of life they would like to maintain. Would they want their life extended regardless of their circumstances? Or, would they only want to be kept alive if a cure was possible? Regardless, thinking through these circumstances and having a plan in place is important.

An advanced directive can incorporate many levels of end-of-life health care. These can include CPR to restart the heart, ventilation to help a person breathe, tube feeding to get nutrients into the body when a person can no longer eat, dialysis to remove waste from the body when kidneys are no longer functioning and antibiotics to fend off infections. End of life palliative care can also be addressed, which can list what comfort care interventions a person may want, such as pain management, dying at home, avoiding invasive tests and ice chips. A person can also specify if they would like their organs donated after they pass away.

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