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Wednesday, July 22, 2009 9:00 AM
Radiocast: Making End-Of-Life Treatment Decisions

Debra: This is Healthcare 411: Information for better health. Many of us don’t have an advance directive, a legal document that conveys decisions about end-of-life care. But this is a vital document, explains AHRQ Director Dr. Carolyn Clancy:

Dr. Clancy: There is a living will, which describes the kinds of medical treatments you would want or not want should you become incapacitated. A durable power of attorney allows the patient to designate someone who will be in charge of health care decisions. And finally, a Do-Not-Resuscitate order, or DNR, outlines what measures should or should not be taken on your behalf in events such as cardiac or respiratory arrest. But one of the most important parts of advance planning is talking about your wishes - both with family members and your doctor. Talking about our concerns and worries - and then taking steps to address them - remains solid advice throughout life, even as we anticipate its end.

Debra: Healthcare 411 is produced by AHRQ, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Debra James for Healthcare 411.

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