Losing a family member can be one of the most stressful events in a person’s life, but there is a way to reduce this stress. National Health Care Decisions Day is Fri., April 16.

“Advance directives make it easier for families to decide what treatments their loved ones should receive at the end of life. In the combined living will and medical power of attorney form, individuals can name someone they trust to make decisions for them and provide directions for the types of treatment they do and do not want at the end of life,” said Alvin H. Moss, M.D., director of the West Virginia Center for End-of-Life Care.

The process of filling out the forms allows people to make their medical treatment and end-of-life care wishes known to their family and health care providers. Common topics include the use of life support and organ donation. A living will and medical power of attorney are legal documents, but an individual can complete the forms without an attorney.

National Healthcare Decisions Day has been formally recognized by the U.S. Congress, numerous state and local governments, and nearly 400 local and state organizations throughout the country. Last year, West Virginia was one of the event’s most active participants.

Advance directive forms will be available or can be downloaded at www.wvendoflife.org for review. For more information, contact Cindy Jamison at 304-293-0695 or cjamison@hsc.wvu.edu.


CONTACT: Kim Fetty, HSC News Service
304-293-7087, fettyki@wvuh.com