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New research illustrates need for advance directives

Created date

March 28th, 2014
doctor and patient discussing advance directives
doctor and patient discussing advance directives

If you have been putting off preparing your advance directives—especially designating a health care proxy—it’s time to make it a priority. 

A study funded in part by the National Institute on Aging set out to discover how many seniors actually need someone to make health-related decisions for them during a hospitalization. The results were surprising.

Almost half!

Researchers found that almost half of an estimated 13 million hospitalized seniors needed someone to make important decisions about issues such as medical procedures, life-sustaining measures, and post-hospital care. And while a high proportion of them were critically ill, most of the inpatients were on regular medical units when questions arose.

Appointing someone to be your health care decision maker is a quick and easy process. No lawyer is needed—one-page forms are available from your state’s department of health.

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