How much would you be willing to go through to extend your life, possibly while compromising the quality of that life?
With the advancement of medicine, technology can extend life; however, at what point does the medical profession withhold or withdraw life-sustaining care? Advance directives are living wills and essential to ensure a patient receives or does not receive the medical treatment they would want, yet few people have them in place and even fewer know what they are or what they are for.
Advanced directives are written forms acknowledging your medical wishes should you ever be in a position where you are unable to voice those wishes for yourself. Providing an advanced directive means telling people you love what they should do so they aren’t put in the place of having to try and guess what you would have wanted—Would you want to be resuscitated with shocks? Would you want to be on a ventilator? Would you want a feeding tube? How long would you want any of these?
Fill out those forms for yourself with your own directives (See attachment). Then, if possible, have the talk with someone you love about the choices you have made. You are encouraged to make several copies and give one to your physician, one to a family member, and one filed with your personal papers (remember you will want to update the forms every few years). You will not submit your advanced directive to this course.
In a 4-5 page paper not including title page:
· Reflect on the experience completing an Advanced Directive. Consider:
o What was it like thinking and talking about the “what if’s,” “when’s,” and “why’s”? (My response: Scary, this is a very sensitive topic matter. Not something I like to talk or think about)
o How did you feel when thinking about and talking with your loved one about the choices you would make in different medical scenarios? (Response: It makes me sad. I know its reality but I’m not ready to face that part yet).
o How willing were others to talk with you about your wishes and choices you made in the Advanced Directive? (Response: My mom was willing even though she disliked that the conversation is being discussed).
· Explain any insights you gained from this activity that might help you as a social worker.
· Describe specific skills you would use to 1) talk to clients about Advanced Directives, 2) assist clients in completing an Advanced Directive, and 3) help families to apply an Advanced Directive.
· Explain one ethical issue (e.g., medical, social, or public health) that is relevant to a medical Advanced Directive.
· Explain two sides of the ethical issue.
· Describe the course of action you might take to address the ethical issue as the medical social worker responsible for this patient, explaining the specific benefits your decision might provide to the patient and the family.
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