Planning a living will is easier than most people think according to one Fargo woman

Published: Apr. 12, 2017 at 6:58 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

Death, it's not a topic many people like to talk about with their children or even spouse. But making your health wishes known can help alleviate stress down the line. April 16th marks National Health Care Decision Day. The goal of the day is to educate people about the importance of advance care planning.

An advanced health care directive known to many as a living will is a legal document that states what actions should be taken if you can no longer make decisions because of illness.

"Who do you want to speak for you when you are at end of life?" said Karen Robinson of Fargo.

Karen Robinson says she lost both of her parents but was glad they had a Health Care Directive. Robinson says filling out the directive is pretty easy once you know the decisions you want.

"I felt it was a gift that my parents provided to me because I knew what their wishes were and didn't have to place undo stress on me at the time when you're in shock anyway because you are losing a loved one," said Robinson.

"if we're going to college, we plan, if we are having a wedding, we plan. Everyone of us will die at some point, and this just isn't about end of life, this is about how we want to live our life," said Lois Ustanko with Sanford Faith Community Nursing Health Ministry.

The Faith Community Nursing Program is a team of registered nurses that help with planning of Health Care Directives, facilitate support groups and educate the public on health issues and funding.

Ustanko says it's not a complicated process and makes a difference for families because without the directive it can lead to family members fighting.

"People who haven't done it are fearful, they don't know how to start the conversation," explained Ustanko.

You don't need an attorney to complete your health care directive, but it does need to be notarized or signed by two people.

"Any one of us could have a sudden change, we could get in a car accident on our way home from work today and lose the ability to speak for ourselves so we say it's important for all adults, 18 and older," stated Ustanko.

Health Care Directives should be reviewed periodically during major life events such as deaths, divorces and a decline in health. If you're over the age of 50, it should be reviewed every 5 years. To learn more about the documents needed or the services offered by Sanford's Faith Community Nursing Program, click the links.