When family members disagree

Submitted on Wednesday October 2nd, 2013

The person who is ill may have very clear thoughts about what he or she wants in terms of care at the end of life, but family members may not agree. This situation can make things very difficult for the professionals involved. They are legally and ethically bound to follow the patient's wishes. If all the paperwork is complete and available, then there is no question about what will be done.

Professionals recommend that you keep several copies and distribute them liberally so they are not difficult to find when they are needed. For instance, a safe deposit box is OK, but your doctor and lawyer should have copies, as should your health representative and your local hospital. Some even suggest keeping a copy in the glove compartment of your car and at home in your desk. If the person you care for is homebound, you may want to keep a copy in a drawer by the bedside so it is readily available for emergency medical personnel in case there is a call to 911.

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