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Health care decisions at the end of life may include decisions that must be made when a person becomes incapacitated and unable to make decisions for themselves. Oregon law requires that "living wills" and "durable powers of attorney" for health care decisions must be set forth on a standard form called an Advance Directive.Oregon Right to Life recommends that an Advance Directive is used to appoint a trusted person to be the one to make those decisions for the patient if he/she becomes incapacitated. Due to the removal of legal protections from Oregon law, we recommend that Oregonians fill out the Advance Directive below. The advance directive incorporates that the presumption should be for life.
The Physician Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) is different from an Advance Directive.The POLST form, initially designed to decrease unnecessary health care interventions at the end of life, is being promoted as a tool for decreasing healthcare costs and has several limitations:
- Becomes a physician'sorder and must be followed
- Is simplistic and may not reflect current medical circumstances
- Can easily be misused
- It is inflexible and in most cases, overrides any decisions the person you have chosen to have power of attorney can make
Unless you have a prognosis of less than one year to live, Oregon Right to Life discourages filling out a POLST form.[Oregon Right to Life cannot provide you with legal advice. If you have questions when filling out an advance directive, please contact an attorney.]
Organizations That Can Help
Physicians for Compassionate Care An Oregon based group of physicians that will promote compassionate care for severely-ill patients without sanctioning or assisting their suicide. Members affirm an ethic based on the principle that all human life is inherently valuable and that the physicians' roles are to heal illness, alleviate suffering, and provide comfort for the sick and dying.
The Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network can provide resources and support for the medically-dependent, persons with disabilities and the incapacitated who are in or potentially facing life-threatening situations.
Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network
P.O. Box 521
Narberth, PA 19072
Phone: 1.855.300.HOPE (4673)
This organization is dedicated to promoting the inherent value of human life through guidance in medico-ethical decision-making. Their SafeChoice Workshops provide practical help in crafting your own advance healthcare directive. This assistance of healthcare and ethical counsel will help you with making healthcare treatment choices and choosing someone with similar values to serve on your behalf in the event you lose your capacity to make decisions regarding end-of-life care.
Dr. Jerome R. Wernow
Northwest Center of Bioethics
5668 SW Bluestem Place
Corvallis, OR 97333