Category Archives: Health Care

Here Are the Most Common Questions People Ask their Gynecologist

webmd

When it comes to matters of sexual health, there are many questions that arise from the moment we get our first period onwards. That’s why our best source of information is our gynecologist. The more questions we ask, the more knowledge we get out of the conversation. So here we bring you some of the most common questions, answered by Sherry Ross, MD, OB/GYN and women’s health expert. Just remember that reading things online doesn’t replace the guide our physicians can provide for us. In fact, if you have any burning questions by the end of this article and you don’t want to wait until your next appointment, you can ask them to the board of certified gynecologists available online at Doctor Spring. Go check it out!

That being said, let’s get started!

Does the pill have any effect on my weight?

We’ve all heard something about this, so we may have grown a little biased towards it. It turns out that weight gain is not a side effect and it can be explained by other circumstances. “Adolescence or going off to college is when most people start the pill and this is also a time that young women tend to gain weight,” says Dr. Ross.

Is it possible to get HPV or HSV from a toilet seat?

It’s true that toilet seats are full of bacteria, but HPV, or any other sexually transmitted infections for that matter, is not something you can get from contact with a toilet seat; according to Dr. Ross, “HPV is contracted through skin to skin contact typically during sexual contact. It’s often best to avoid any sexual partner who has genital warts or a known history of HPV.”

When should I see a gynecologist for the first time?

The recommended age is 13-15 years old; it’s a good time to start building a relationship with your gynecologist so you can learn about prevention of sexually transmitted infections and other relevant health care advice you may need. For those of you who are at that age and might feel uncomfortable about it, Dr. Ross has this to say: “The good news is your first visit may be only a conversation and/or an external examination to make sure everything is healthy with your female parts. Unless you are sexually active or have vaginal discharge or other complaints, you will not need an internal pelvic exam.”

What’s the best way to keep my female parts clean?

The best advice is to clean your vagina and labia every day with the hygienic attention you give to any other part of your body. “Urine, sweat and closeness to the anus, makes this area’s clean up very essential and critical to prevent bacterial buildup and to avoid the odors that develop throughout the day,” says Dr. Ross.

Is douching the best way to clean my vagina?

No, this kind of internal vaginal cleaning is not recommended. “The active cleaning ingredients used in most douches can upset healthy vaginal discharge and pH balance and create a yeast or bacterial infection,” says Dr. Ross. So keep that in mind before you turn it into a routine.

I still smell something funny even when I am clean down there, is it normal?

Healthy and clean vaginas have a natural scent, but it shouldn’t be unpleasant. According to Dr. Ross, “If you notice an offensive, fishy, yeasty, or foul odor, it’s recommended to see your gynecologist to rule out an infection. Your diet and habits can also affect your vagina’s smell and taste; foods like garlic, onions, Brussels sprouts and red meat, and also things like smoking, alcohol and caffeine.”

Can I have sex on my period?

Yes. According to Dr. Ross, you can have sex on your period. The obvious thing about it is that it might be messy!

Can I get pregnant on my period?

It really depends on your cycle. “If you ovulate early in the cycle, you can get pregnant,” says Dr. Ross. “For example, sperm lives for 3 days so if you have sex on day 6 of your period and ovulate on day 9, you could get pregnant.”

How can I best treat period cramps?

“Cramps can be treated with ibuprofen such as Advil and Motrin,” says Dr. Ross. A tip: keep track of your period so you can take ibuprofen before you know your cramps are getting close so you can prevent them. For other suggestions, Dr. Ross informs “The pill is not only a great birth control but it also makes your menstrual blood less heavy, which minimizes your cramps each month. Other easy remedies include a warm bath, heating pad, or a hot water bottle. Lifestyle choices that can also help include: exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet and avoiding salt, sugar, caffeine and alcohol.”

Is it necessary for me to check my breasts?

It’s important to get to know your breasts as soon as possible.  According to Dr. Ross of DoctorSpring “Breast tissue can be intimidating in the beginning but once you are familiar with your own breast tissue and all its normal lumps and bumps, you will be able to find abnormal changes if they occur.” She also says that “The best time to check your breasts is during the first week of your period when the hormonal effects on breast tissue have subsided.”

Why do random hairs grow around the nipple?

It turns out that this is considered normal during different stages of life and taking hormonal surges into consideration. “The aurola naturally has hair follicles. If you are getting random hairs around your nipples you might also notice hair growth on your chin and face. Some people are more prone to this than others. Puberty, pregnancy and menopause are times when hormonal changes are more physically noticeable.”

Learning about Elderly or Senior Care In Home Care

okok

Senior Care In The Comfort Of Your Own Home

Many seniors are not pleased with the idea of moving in a nursing home. The reason for this is that they want to age in place and live independently for as long as possible. Many who have received senior care in the home have realised that this is exactly the type of care they want and need. This is because this type of care allows them to stay in a comfortable environment while receiving the proper level of care.

As home health care becomes more and more common, seniors have better and greater options to choose from. In home care givers can provide care ranging from a few hours to 24 hours home care, seven days a week. They can also provide senior care for temporary, regular, or long periods of time. There are also different types of services to choose from such as personal care, companion care, and home maker services.  The type of senior care in home that you should hire depends mainly on your loved one’s needs.

Personal Care Services

Personal care includes such regular activities as bathing and grooming, which are both vital in making a senior feel comfortable and good about himself. Caregivers can also assist seniors in performing daily activities which are necessary for them to remain mentally and physically fit. Other services include meal planning and preparations, which are important especially for seniors who are on a special diet. Those who provide personal care in the homes of seniors do so in coordination with the senior’s family members and health care professionals.

Companion Services

Many seniors, even those who live with or near their loved ones, often feel lonely and isolated. This is because family members live such fast-paced lives that often they can’t find time to spend with them. This is where companion services can be helpful. With individuals providing care in the homes of your senior loved ones, their quality of life can be greatly enhanced. Companion caregivers offer this type of service for a few hours a day or a couple of days a week depending on your senior’s needs. Companion services may include grocery shopping, conversation, medication reminders, running errands, and respite care for family members.

Homemaker Services

Homemaker services are similar with personal care and companion services. Those providing this kind of senior care in home help delay the need for elders to be moved to a nursing home or shorten their stay in the hospital.

Receiving senior care in home eases the burden of financial strain as it is often much cheaper and more affordable than staying in a nursing home or a senior care facility. This is because, unlike health care facilities, it doesn’t include the extra charges on facilities and equipment. Since the rates of nursing homes are usually far beyond what most seniors can afford, it is more practical for them to hire senior care in a home.

What hours and care time do you need?

Also, many elders do not need full-time assistance, and so there is no sense placing them in nursing homes. This senior include those who are still physically and mentally fit enough to do some of their daily activities and only require some assistance in other aspects of their life such as running errands or visiting their doctor. Also, they may only require this type of help for a few hours a day. Allowing them to maintain a certain level of independence while providing them with the right type of senior care in home can help improve their quality of life.

But even seniors who need full-time care may still find it difficult to stay in a nursing home. Receiving senior care in home may still be the best option for them. Seniors who are ill and receive in home care enjoy the benefits of receiving a more individualised care than those who are in nursing homes. This is because the personnel in nursing homes often have to take care of many different types of seniors with various types of needs.

In home care services are typically offered round-the-clock, seven days a week. But seniors also have the options of hiring services on an hourly, live-in, part-time, or as-needed basis. Senior care providers may also work alone or as a team.

What qualifications should you look for?

When choosing the right provider for your loved one, you have to make sure that he/she is highly trained and qualified for the job. A background check may even be necessary in order to make sure that your loved one will be in good hands at all times. Hiring the right senior care giver will give you the peace of mind that your loved one is receiving the right type of care in home and that he’s enjoying life to the fullest while in familiar surroundings. This is something he can never experience in a nursing home.

When selecting a senior home care provider, make sure that you do a thorough background check of all your candidates or if you’re using an agency, investigate its credentials thoroughly. The most important thing is that service providers are well screened, qualified, and insured to deliver sensible and responsible care that your senior loved one ought to receive.

The Cost of In Home Care Services

With the exception of live-in care, in home health care services are often more affordable than most assisted living facilities and skilled nursing homes. However, you should consider some factors related to cost when choosing in home care services. Such factors include location and level of services that your senior loved one may need. In general, personal care assistants, home makers, and companions cost less than skilled nursing care providers or home health aides. Also, you will discover that caregivers hired directly cost less than those hired via an agency.

Service fees can be on an hourly, daily, or weekly basis Payments may come from different sources, either from the patient himself or from his family members or through various public and private sources. Some services like those that are prescribed by a physician and fall under the category of professional health care services are most often covered by your insurance. Also, there are community organizations like the Alzheimer’s association or the local cancer society, that provide some support in paying for in home care services.

Why Should You Hire Senior Home Care Services For Your Seniors?

tuo

Seniors or elders need proper health care and assistance in their daily activities. If you have elders in your family who want to spend their remaining times in their own homes, you need to think of professional assistance, as you may not have enough time to provide them with that extra care in this hectic life. There is a wide range of home care services adequate to meet the growing needs of your senior parents. You do not have to worry about a father taking to the hospital, giving him medicines or assisting him in any other activity. Within -home care services, you can be relieved of the burdens of taking care of your parents, while making retirement years more enjoyable for them.

Taking care of seniors relative on your own could be physically and psychologically draining, even when you will find the will to get it done and also the support of the entire family. Knowing when you should get outdoors help and using a recognized senior home care provider might help strengthen family ties as well as creates a more healthy relationship between both you and your senior’s family member.

Studies show that parents can live a better life in their retirement years in their own homes. They are less vulnerable to a variety of diseases like stress, depression, high blood pressure and heart attack. Your parents feel happy, as they can see or chat with their loved ones. They feel respectable when they are assisted in their daily activities by professional caregivers. Home care services are available for 24 hours. They comprise almost everything right from providing companionship, supervising diet and eating, giving medication reminders, assisting with getting up and into the bed, taking seniors to doctor to stimulating mental awareness to chatting in a friendly way. They also involve maintaining calendars, arranging appointments, serving food, and organizing mails and letter-writing services for elders.

ComForCare home care service providers also help seniors in selecting clothing, reading, and travel arrangements. With senior care service, you can be assured that your parents enjoy life once more and engage in hobbies and crafts, watch movies, and read books they love. These services even can include taking seniors to old friend’s homes and taking them out for a meal or a trip. Housekeeping can be a tough job for seniors, but the efficient home care services ensure that your elder’s home is kept in order through cleaning, washing and ironing, dusting, bed making, vacuuming and taking the rubbish out.

Tips for Selecting a Home Care Service Provider
While selecting home care services, you need to interview at least 3 to 5 senior care providers to determine whether a person is fit for the job or not. It would be better if you involve your seniors in the interview. Be very specific about the tasks that you require a caregiver to do. Make sure you hire the person who is comfortable doing those tasks. Checking references from two or more sources is very helpful to know about the credibility of a service provider. Check the background of your service provider and make sure they offer quality services within budget. For more details on home care, visit Senior Home Care | ComForCare | Austin, TX

Retiree Health Care Benefits Continue to Decline

Employer-based retirement health care insurance benefits continue to decline, according to recent industry reports.

Many retirees have been able to rely on private or state employer-based retirement health benefits for supplemental health care coverage while on Medicare in the past, but this is becoming less common.

Employer-based health-related benefits can provide important coverage for the gaps that exist in Medicare programs. Additional coverage benefits can alleviate the cost-sharing requirements and deductibles associated with Medicare. Caps on the amount that can be spent out-of-pocket, often associated with supplemental coverage, are also often helpful for retirees.

Overall, supplemental retiree health and medical benefits sponsored by a private or municipal employer have helped many retirees cope with high medical costs often incurred in retirement.

The Kaiser Family Foundation recently reported, however, that the number of large private employers-considered employers with 200 or more employees-offering retiree healthcare benefits has dropped from 66 percent in 1988 to 23 percent in 2015.

Companies that do continue to offer retiree health benefits have been making changes aimed at reducing the cost of benefits, including:

Instituting caps on the amount of the provider’s financial liability
Shifting from defined benefit to defined contribution plans
Offering retiree health care benefits through Medicare Advantage plan contracts
Creating benefit programs through private health insurance exchanges

State employers have also not been immune to the trend, but the type and level of coverage being offered by most states is significantly different than retirement health care coverage being offered by large companies.

Unlike many private employers, state governments continue to offer some level of retiree health care benefits to help attract and retain talented workers, according to a report titled “State Retiree Health Plan Spending,” published by The Pew Charitable Trusts and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in May, 2016.

With the exception of Idaho, all states currently offer newly-hired state employees some level of retirement health care benefits as part of their benefits package, according to the report. Of the states offering retiree medical benefits, 38 have made the commitment to contribute to health care premiums for the coverage being offered. State employers are, however, also making changes to the retirement health care insurance benefits they provide to state workers.

Significant among these changes for the states is at least one driving force-the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) now requires states to report liabilities for retirement benefits other than pensions in their financial statements. The changes were required from all states by the end of 2008. As a result, the increased financial transparency forced states to review the cost of their other post-employment benefits (OPEB) and address how they plan to pay for them.

Because retirement health care benefits account for the majority of the states’ OPEB obligations, many states have made policy changes to address the upcoming obligations. Factors such as date of hire, date of retirement or vesting eligibility, including minimum age and minimum service year requirements, are now being used by states to vary or limit retirement health care benefits.

Overall, from 2010 to 2013, the states saw their OPEB liabilities decrease by 10 percent from $627 billion after inflation adjustments. While this may sound contradictory, the declines are attributed to a slowdown in the growth of health care costs coupled with benefit modifications aimed at cost reductions.

To look at one state as an example, California’s recent budget revealed that health care benefits for retirees are costing the state more than $2 billion a year for an 80 percent increase over the prior 10 years. Although the situation recently changed, California was previously one of 18 states that had nothing set aside to cover its future retiree health care benefit costs of $80.3 billion.

It should be noted that retiree health care plans are typically funded by plan sponsors on a “pay as you go” basis, meaning that monies to pay current and future health care obligations are taken from current assets and not set aside in advance. This differs significantly from pension plans governed by ERISA, which are subject to funding guidelines.

In response to California’s unfunded OPEB liability, employees and the state are now paying into a fund for future retiree health care benefit costs. The state is also matching $88 million in employee contributions and paying an additional $240 million to prefund future retirement health care benefit costs. The changes are impacting retirees as well as state and private employers.

Overall, employer-based retirement health care benefits, once important for supplementing Medicare for retired seniors, continue to decline.

The Potential Impact of Eroding Employer-Based Health Care Retirement Benefits

Many baby boomers who are currently covered by retiree medical plans and plan to rely on future employer-paid medical benefits, are likely to be disappointed to learn that these benefit plans can be changed or terminated. ERISA-governed benefit plans typically contain a “reservation of rights” provision allowing the plan sponsor to change or terminate all or parts of the plan. Many private and state employers are reducing or terminating retiree health benefits due to the increasing cost of insurance premiums, rising health care costs, and increases in longevity.

Since the early 1990s there have been many cases where unexpected changes to post-employment pension and medical benefits have resulted in lawsuits. Typically, the key issue is the reservation of rights language and/or collective bargaining agreement language for employees who were covered by a union contract which referenced retiree medical benefits.

Beneficiaries who have questions about their retiree medical benefits should speak with their plan sponsor to learn about the specific benefits available to them and have a contingency plan for bridging their medical coverage to Medicare, if they are considering early retirement or want to better understand future benefits.

Making the Choice to Execute a Health Care Power of Attorney and Living Will

Advances in medical technology, recent court rulings and emerging political trends have brought with them a number of life-and-death choices which many have never before considered. The looming prospect of legalized physician-assisted suicide is one such choice which severely erodes the inherent value and dignity of human life. The much-publicized efforts of certain doctors to provide carbon monoxide poisoning or prescribe lethal drugs for their terminally ill patients constitute euthanasia. So may the removal of certain life-sustaining treatments from a patient who is not in a terminal condition. Euthanasia and willful suicide, in any form, are offenses against life; they must be and are rejected by the vast majority of U.S. states.

However, people faced with these difficult dilemmas should be made aware that there are morally-appropriate, life-affirming legal options available to them. One such option, for Catholics and others, can be a “health care power of attorney” and “living will.” South Carolina State law allows you to appoint someone as your agent to make health care decisions for you in the event you lose the ability to decide for yourself. This appointment is executed by means of a “health care power of attorney” form, a model for which can be obtained from your attorney.

A health care power of attorney can be a morally and legally acceptable means of protecting your wishes, values and religious beliefs when faced with a serious illness or debilitating accident. Accordingly, for persons wishing to execute health care powers of attorney, see the following instructions and guidance from the authoritative teachings and traditions of various religious faiths.

The intent of the health care power of attorney law is to allow adults to delegate their God-given, legally-recognized right to make health care decisions to a designated and trusted agent. The law does not intend to encourage or discourage any particular health care treatment. Nor does it legalize or promote euthanasia, suicide or assisted suicide. The health care power of attorney law allows you, or any competent adult, to designate an “agent,” such as a family member or close friend, to make health care decisions for you if you lose the ability to decide for yourself in the future. This is done by completing a health care power of attorney form.

You…

o Have the right to make all of your own health care decisions while capable of doing so. The health care power of attorney only becomes effective when and if you become incapacitated through illness or accident.

o Have the right to challenge your doctor’s determination that you are not capable of making your own medical decisions.

o CAN give special instructions about your medical treatment to your agent and can forbid your agent from making certain treatment decisions. To do so, you simply need to communicate your wishes, beliefs and instructions to your agent. Instructions about any specific treatments or procedures which you desire or do not desire under special conditions can also be written in your health care power of attorney and/or provided in a separate living will.

o Can revoke your health care power of attorney or the appointment of your agent at any time while competent.

o May not designate as your agent an administrator or employee of the hospital, nursing home or mental hygiene facility to which you are admitted, unless they are related by blood, marriage or adoption. 1996

Your agent…

o Can begin making decisions for you only when your doctor determines that you are no longer able to make health care decisions for yourself.

o May make any and all health care decisions for you, including treatments for physical or mental conditions and decisions regarding life-sustaining procedures, unless you limit the power of your agent.

o Will not have authority to make decisions about the artificial provision of nutrition and hydration (nourishment and water through feeding tubes) unless he or she clearly knows that these decisions are in accord with your wishes about those measures.

o Is protected from legal liability when acting in good faith.

o Must base his or her decisions on your wishes or, if your wishes cannot be reasonably ascertained, in your “best interests.” The agent’s decisions will take precedence over the decisions of all other persons, regardless of family relationships.

o May have his or her decision challenged if your family, health care provider or close friend believes the agent is acting in bad faith or is not acting in accord with your wishes, including your religious/moral beliefs, or is not acting in your best interests.

CONSIDERATIONS FOR ALL PEOPLE FROM CHRISTIAN/CATHOLIC TEACHING

The following is an attempt to gather information from the doctrines of Christianity, Catholicism, and Judaism to see if there are any commonalities with regard to health care agencies and living wills. We will see that all three religions have placed a value on dying with dignity and the right of the person to direct how their dying process will occur.

A major tenet of the faith is that it is unethical to take a life. It is not the highest of all values to stay alive, but you cannot affirmatively take steps to kill someone. The church is strongly against euthanasia and suicide. But often if the patient and medical care providers permit nature to take its course without heroic intervention, the person’s life may be taken by God.

This is a narrow path. Taking a life is inappropriate; on the other hand, using heroic medical measures to keep a body biologically functioning would not be appropriate either. Mere biological existence is not considered a value. It is not a sin to allow someone to die peacefully and with dignity. We see death as an evil to be transformed into a victory by faith in God. The difficulty is discussing these issues in abstraction; they must be addressed on a case-by-case basis. The Christian church’s view of life-and-death issues should ideally be reflected in the living will and health-care proxy.

Roman Catholic teaching celebrates life as a gift of a loving God and respects each human life because each is created in the image and likeness of God. It is consistent with Church teaching that each person has a right to make his or her own health care decisions. Further, a person’s family or trusted delegate may have to assume that responsibility for someone who has become incapable of making their decisions. Accordingly, it is morally acceptable to appoint a health care agent by executing a health care power of attorney, provided it conforms to the teachings and traditions of the Catholic faith.

While the health care power of attorney law allows us to designate someone to make health care decisions for us, we must bear in mind that life is a sacred trust over which we have been given stewardship. We have a duty to preserve it, while recognizing that we have no unlimited power over it. Therefore, the Catholic Church encourages us to keep the following considerations in mind if we decide to sign a health care power of attorney.

1. As Christians, we believe that our physical life is sacred but that our ultimate goal is everlasting life with God. We are called to accept death as a part of the human condition. Death need not be avoided at all costs.

2. Suffering is “a fact of human life, and has special significance for the Christian as an opportunity to share in Christ’s redemptive suffering. Nevertheless there is nothing wrong in trying to relieve someone’s suffering as long as this does not interfere with other moral and religious duties. For example, it is permissible in the case of terminal illness to use pain killers which carry the risk of shortening life, so long as the intent is to relieve pain effectively rather than to cause death.”

3. Euthanasia is “an action or omission which of itself or by intention causes death, in order that all suffering may in this way be eliminated.” “[Euthanasia] is an attack on human life which no one has a right to make or request.”

4. “Everyone has the duty to care for his or her own health and to seek necessary medical care from others, but this does not mean that all possible remedies must be used in all circumstances. One is not obliged to use ‘extraordinary’ means – that is, means which offer no reasonable hope of benefit or which involve excessive hardship.

5. No health care agent may be authorized to deny personal services which every patient can rightfully expect, such as appropriate food, water, bed rest, room temperature and hygiene.

6. The patient’s condition, however, may affect the moral obligation of providing food and water when they are being administered artificially. Factors that must be weighed in making this judgment include: the patient’s ability to assimilate the artificially provided nutrition and hydration, the imminence of death and the risks of the procedures for the patient. While medically-administered food and water pose unique questions, especially for patients who are permanently unconscious, decisions about these measures should be guided by a presumption in favor of their use. Food and water must never be withdrawn in order to cause death. They may be withdrawn if they offer no reasonable hope of maintaining life or if they pose excessive risks or burdens.

7. Life-sustaining treatment must be maintained for a pregnant patient if continued treatment may benefit her unborn child.

Such principles and guidelines from the Christian heritage may guide Catholics and others as they strive to make responsible health care decisions and execute health care proxies. They may also guide Catholic health care facilities and providers in deciding when to accept and when to refuse to honor an agent’s decision.

CONSIDERATIONS FOR ALL PEOPLE FROM JEWISH TEACHING

Jewish tradition as understood by Conservative Judaism teaches that life is a blessing and a gift from God. Each human being is valued as created b’tselem elohim, in God’s image. Whatever the level of our physical and mental abilities, whatever the extent of our dependence on others, each person has intrinsic dignity and value in God’s eyes. Judaism values life and respects our bodies as the creation of God. We have the responsibility to care for ourselves and seek medical treatment needed for our recovery-we owe that to ourselves, to our loved ones, and to God.

In accordance with our tradition’s respect for the life God has given us and its consequent bans on murder and suicide, Judaism rejects any form of active euthanasia (“mercy killing”) or assisted suicide. Within these broad guidelines, decisions may be required about which treatment would best promote recovery and would offer the greatest benefit. Accordingly, each patient may face important choices concerning what mode of treatment he or she feels would be both beneficial and tolerable.

The breadth of the Conservative movement and its intellectual vitality have produced two differing positions put forward by Rabbis Avram Israel Reisner and Elliot N. Dorff, both approved by the Conservative movement’s Committee on Jewish Law and Standards. Both positions agree on the value of life and the individual’s responsibility to protect his or her life and seek healing. Both agree on a large area of autonomy in which a patient can make decisions about treatment when risk or uncertainty is involved. Both would allow terminally ill patients to rule out certain treatment options (such as those with significant side effects), to forgo mechanical life support, and to choose hospice care as a treatment option.

Nevertheless, important differences between the two positions may be found regarding both theoretical commitments and practical applications. Rabbi Reisner affirms the supreme value of protecting all life. Even the most difficult life and that of the shortest duration is yet God given, purposeful, and ours to nurture and protect. All nutrition, hydration, and medication should be provided whenever these are understood to be effective measures for sustaining life. Some medical interventions, however, do not sustain life so much as they prolong the dying process. These interventions are not required. The distinction may best be judged by our intent. We may choose to avoid treatments causing us fear or entailing risk or pain, in the interest of the remaining moments of life. We may not avoid treatment in an attempt to speed an escape into death.

Rabbi Dorff finds basis in Jewish law to grant greater latitude to the patient who wishes to reject life-sustaining measures. He sees a life under the siege of a terminal illness as an impaired life. In such a circumstance, a patient might be justified in deciding that a treatment that extends life without hope for cure would not benefit him or her, and may be forgone.

Both Rabbis Dorff and Reisner agree that advance directives should only be used to indicate preferences within the range allowed by Jewish law. They disagree as to what those acceptable ranges are. In completing a health care power of attorney and living will, it is recommended that you consult with your rabbi to discuss the values and norms of Jewish ethics and halakhah. You also may wish to talk with your physician to learn about the medical significance of your choices, in particular any decisions your physician feels are likely to be faced in light of your medical circumstances. You may find it helpful to discuss these concerns with family members.

CONCLUSION

In the end, the decision to execute a health care power of attorney and living will is a uniquely individual choice. Every person has their own set of principles by which they will live, and by which they will eventually pass on. When executing these documents, it is wise to examine how these documents assimilate into your worldview and religious beliefs. While the topic of death and dying is an uncomfortable one, you are well advised to discuss this decision with your family members, friends, and members and leaders of your religious community that you respect. Having done this, you can rest easy knowing that you have made a good decision with regard to your health care power of attorney and last will, and that your last wishes will be respected and undertaken.