As I write this letter, Hamilton County has 956 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 84 people have died of the virus. I am fairly certain that many of us who are housebound have been thinking about our advance directives and end-of-life health care decisions.
Advance directives are necessary if we cannot speak for ourselves. They require appointing a health care proxy to help medical providers honor our wishes for our care at the end of life, and they require thoughtful discussions about what we want and do not want ahead of the unforeseen. By taking charge of our end-of-life care wishes now, fewer doctors and loved ones will be forced to make heart-wrenching, life-and-death-decisions, not knowing what we want.
Sadly, 33 million Americans have lost their jobs in these eight weeks since the pandemic began, while others have had their hours reduced or experienced a pay cut. As a result, many individuals are hurting and cannot afford the cost of a professional to assist them in end-of-life planning.
There are some free resources that can help. Compassion and Choices, a nonprofit end-of-care advocacy organization, has a free online COVID-19 toolkit at CompassionAndChoices.org as well as online webinars that help people in understanding their options at CompassionAndChoices.org/webinarseries.
As the sign on my desk reads: Please, do something today that your future self will thank you for.
Margo McAlear, Carmel