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  • Seven powerful answers to end-of-life issues
  • June 8, 2015
  • Seven powerful answers to end of life issuesBy Karla Sullivan

    Harvard Medical School offers the truth to commonly held myths about end-of-life issues and other important documents. And it is important to understand the truth behind your medical care at the end of life. Without specific documents, choices may be left to a doctor or judge who does not know your values, preferences orĀ beliefs.

    See if you recognize the true and false answers to the following:

    1. More care is not always better.

    2. Medical treatments can be started and stopped.

    3. Not choosing to use life support is a form of suicide and invalidates your life insurance.

    4. A living will tells nothing of the treatments you want.

    5. Underage beneficiaries on your life insurance policy will still receive death benefits.

    6. Stopping or refusing artificial nutrition and hydration causes pain for someone who is dying.

    7. You do not need a death certificate to present to the life insurance company when the insured passes to claim benefits.

    1. True. Sometimes more care and health initiatives will prolong the dying process without respect for a true quality of life. This is an area that a solid healthcare team can give invaluable assistance.

    2. True. You and a health care provider can approve a treatment or medication for a trial period and stop if the results are not what is expected.

    3. False. The medical problem or illness is identified as the cause of death and your life insurance will be valid.

    4. False. A living will tells what treatments you want, including the use of dialysis, breathing machines, resuscitation methods, tube feeding and organ or tissue donation.

    5. True. A guardian or surviving spouse will have to be named if the children are under the age of 18. The parent can name the guardian as part of the life insurance beneficiary designation or as part of their wills.

    6. False. Unlike keeping food or water from a healthy person, for someone who is dying, declining artificial nutrition or intravenous hydration does not cause pain.

    7. False. Along with a specific insurance claim form, a death certificate must accompany the claim as proof of death.

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