Gov. Ted Strickland issued a proclamation declaring this week "Ohio Living Wills and Advance Directives Week," and encouraging Ohioans to make their treatment wishes known to health professionals before accidents and life threatening situations occur.
"This week provides an opportunity for OOA members to educate their patients about the importance of having living wills and health care powers of attorney on file," said OOA President Schield M. Wikas, DO. "Although no one wants to talk about terminal illness or possible accidents, these documents can avoid unnecessary stress and uncertainties during times of medical crisis."
Two particularly useful resources for patients were developed by the Ohio Hospice and Palliative Care Organization in collaboration with the Ohio State Bar Association, the Ohio Hospital Association, the OOA and the Ohio State Medical Association. "Living Well at the End of Life," contains standard living will and health care power of attorney forms that can be completed by patients and saved for future reference. "Conversations that Light the Way" is a work book to help families talk about how to deal with health care decisions during medical emergencies when a family member cannot speak for him/herself.
Many Ohio organizations and hospitals are holding educational seminars and informational sessions this week to educate patients about end of life decisions and advance directives. Check these web sites for useful information and to download copies of the publications mentioned above: