LETTER: Take control of your end-of-life decisions

Kimberly Ross
A close up photo of a medical doctor holding an elderly female's trembling hands. (Ocskay Mark/Dreamstime/TNS)

Life can take unexpected turns at any moment: diagnosis of a terminal disease, a major health event or accident. If you were to experience one of these life-altering events, who would make important health care decisions for you if you couldn’t communicate them yourself?

Advance directives are written “directions in advance” to guide loved ones and medical professionals regarding the treatments and interventions you would or would not want if you were unable to speak for yourself.

A recent study showed 60% of people 18 and older would want their end-of-life wishes respected, but only a third had made those known. February is Wise Health Care Consumer Month. As executive director of Compassus in Lancaster, York and Harrisburg, I encourage every adult to take control of their future health by preparing advance directives.

Free advance directives and instructions for each state can be found at www.CaringInfo.org. Share copies with your power of attorney, family and physicians; keep electronic copies on your computer, tablet or smartphone; keep a hard copy in your home; and take it with you when you travel or are hospitalized.

Take charge of your health care today to ensure your wishes are honored in the future.

— Kimberly Ross is executive director of Compassus in Lancaster, York and Harrisburg.