End-of-Life & Healthcare Decision Making
For some people diagnosed with breast cancer, there may come a time when they cannot express their healthcare and end-of-life preferences. And that’s why it is important to create a Health Care Power of Attorney and Living Will.
Health Care Power of Attorney a/k/a Health Care Proxy
Your health care power of attorney (HCPOA) appoints one or more individuals of your choosing to make healthcare decisions for you when you are unable to do so. A properly signed HCPOA will help ensure that your healthcare wishes are followed. Having a HCPOA is especially important if your loved ones disagree about treatment. If you are later able to express your healthcare wishes, you will again make your own healthcare decisions.
Choosing Your Healthcare Decision-maker
The person(s) you select to make your healthcare decisions should be a loved one that you trust to follow your wishes. You should talk to the person or people you intend to appoint about your wishes and confirm that they will do what you would want.
Living Wills a/k/a Advance Directives
Accompanying a HCPOA should be a Living Will. A Living Will puts in writing your desire whether to use, refuse, or remove life support when you are at the “end-stage” of a terminal illness or are in a permanent coma vegetative state.
Do not confuse a living will with a "do not resuscitate" order (DNR). A DNR says that if you “flat-line” from a heart or lung problem that you do not want to be resuscitated. Everyone can benefit from a living will, while DNRs are for people for whom it wouldn't make sense to administer CPR.