April 25, 2013

What’s the difference between an advance directive and a living will? What is a “DNR” order and why is it important?

April is Health Care Decision Month—a time to all of us to reflect on some of the decisions that we or our loved ones might confront around how we die. In keeping with this theme, Healthstyles is focusing its programs this month on how to have the conversations about how we want to die and how to take the legal steps in ensuring that others respect our wishes.

The first program aired on April 4th on WBAI, 99.5 FM (www.wbai.org) and focused on why it’s important to complete an “advance directive” that designates who will make health care decisions for you it you become unable to do so.

The second program aired on April 11th and focused on how to actually have the conversation about your health care wishes with your loved ones, and especially someone who will serve as your health care proxy or agent.

The third program walked you through how to complete an advance directive and health care proxy form, as well as tell you how to make it available to health care providers. If you didn’t already do so, you can download a sample form that is specific to your state at Caring Connections.

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The final program in this four-part series airs tonight on WBAI, 99.5 FM (www.wbai.org) and will discuss other legal documents related to end-of-life care, such as living wills, the POLST—Provider Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment—and the Do Not Resuscitate documents.

For the entire series, Healthstyles producers Barbara Glickstein, RN, MPH, and Diana Mason, RN, PhD, talk with Tina Janssen-Spinosa, JD, Staff Attorney for the New York Legal Assistance Group where she is Program Coordinator for Total Life Choices, an initiative to disseminate information about end of life planning and help people in their planning needs; and Vidette Todaro-Franceschi, RN, PhD, Professor of Nursing at Hunter College, City University of New York, and expert in end of life issues.

Remember that planning for the end of our lives is about planning for how we want to live.

Healthstyles is sponsored by the Center for Health, Media & Policy at Hunter College.