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  • Catherine Swan

How to Start the Conversation about Health Care Directives

There are more pleasant dinner topics than your advance health care directives. Studies show,however, that ninety-three percent of doctors feel “less frustrated” when they have access to health care directives that have been planned in advance, and eighty-eight percent of families feel more comfortable with the care their loved one received when the doctor had those directives. This overwhelming majority shows how beneficial advance health care directives are in these stressful situations.



The ABA suggests starting the discussion by blaming your lawyer:

“Ms. Swan, my lawyer, says that before I complete some legal documents, I need to talk over with you some plans about end-of-life medical care.”


Or relate a story about someone you know:

“Do you remember what happened to so-and-so and what his family went through? I don’t want you to have to go through that with me. That’s why I want to talk about this now, while we can.”


Or you might spark the discussion more creatively with one of these hilarious Pallimed suggestions, such as, “What’s on your bucket list? Mine starts with an advance directive.”


Maybe best is just a simple and honest: “Hey, do you have a second? I want to talk to you about something really important because I love you.”


Important to remember:

1. No matter what your advance directives say, no one can possibly know exactly what your wishes are in a given situation. The more thoroughly you communicate, the easier for everyone to respect your wishes.


2. Advance health care directives help your loved ones make difficult decisions with less doubt and anxiety.


3. Advance health care directives save money. Expensive treatments can continue long after they’ve stopped being helpful if no one is sure of your wishes or wants to make a decision.


4. Talking about this with others will help you think about your wishes in a new way. If you have questions about an existing estate plan, we can help. Just call at 970-879-1572.

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405 South Lincoln Avenue, Suite 101

PO Box 773002 Steamboat Springs, Colorado, 80477

Tel: 970-879-1572 

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