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Planning for Uncertainty

, 168 pages
April 2007



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Planning for Uncertainty

Living Wills and Other Advance Directives for You and Your Family

second edition

Advance Directive Forms by State

It won’t happen to me.

I’m too busy to worry about a living will.

My family will know what to do.

No one wants to plan for death or incapacitating illness. But, as the emotional legal battle in the Terri Schiavo case made all too clear, people of all ages need to document and communicate clear decisions about the final details of their lives while they are healthy and have time to fully consider their own values and preferences.

Here, Drs. David Doukas and William Reichel help individuals make decisions and communicate their wishes to health care providers and family members and other loved ones.

Drs. Doukas and Reichel use a question-and-answer format to guide readers through the process—emphasizing the crucial connection between values and treatment preferences. They explain advance directives and the health care decision-making process, including the values history, family covenants, proxies, and proxy negation. The appendix includes resources and Web links for learning about advance directive requirements and obtaining legal forms in all fifty states.

This practical guide helps people navigate the important but often intimidating process of thinking about, and planning for, an uncertain future.

David John Doukas, M.D., is the William Ray Moore Endowed Chair of Family Medicine and Medical Humanism, professor and chief of the Division of Medical Humanism and Ethics in the Department of Family and Geriatric Medicine, and a member of the Institute for Bioethics, Health Policy, and Law at the University of Louisville. He is also the chair of the University of Louisville Health Care Ethics Committee. William Reichel, M.D., is an affiliated scholar at the Center for Clinical Bioethics at the Georgetown University School of Medicine.

"Valuable resource."

"A practical guide to help individuals make end-of-life decisions and communicate them to healthcare providers, family members, and other loved ones."

"This practical guide helps people navigate the important but often intimidating process of thinking about, and planning for, an uncertain future."

"Doukas and Reichel achieve two things rarely seen in books geared toward the general public. First, they are uncommonly forthright... The second noteworthy achievement of Planning for Uncertainty is its compatibility with the family physician's worldview."

" Planning for Uncertainty contacts much helpful information about advance directives and advance care planning."

"A helpful book for planning ahead... The authors are two U.S. family physicians who have done an admirable job of putting together some cogent advice for persons planning their health care direction and for the health professionals who might be advising them. Very clear descriptions are presented for the nonprofessional... Hospice care is nicely outlined."

"As the Terri Schiavo case illustrated, we all need to put our wishes about end-of-life care in writing. Dr. Doukas and Dr. Reichel explain options, describe what doctors can and cannot do, and make an emotionally trying topic manageable. Theirs is the must-have guide to advance directives and living wills."