Protecting End-of-Life Decisions in Nebraska
End-of-life decisions are deeply personal choices that should be left up to the autonomy of each individual. However, natural human instincts and legal liabilities can prevent a person's wishes to be let go peacefully. Currently, Nebraska does not have a state recognized physician's order for life-sustaining treatment, POLST. These forms are currently being adopted by other states as a way to protect their citizens decisions on end-of-life treatment.
The best alternative for Nebraskans that want their wishes for end-of-life treatment known is to complete an advanced health care directive, sometimes known as living wills. Verbally telling a spouse or child is better than nothing. However, it is easy to forget a person's wishes in a time of crisis. The better way to ensure one's wishes are followed is to complete and sign an advanced health care directive.
An advanced health care directive is a document that explains, in detail, which measures an individual would elect to have done or refuse to have done at the end of their life. It is equally important that the health care directive is filed with one's doctor, hospital, or care facility. Additionally, attaching a copy of the health care directive to one's fridge or a similarly visible place will make it more likely that emergency personnel will see it if they enter the home.
At Elder Law of Omaha we use "5 Wishes" an advanced health care directive for our clients. We combine the advanced health care directive with a health care power of attorney. This belt and suspenders approach ensures that a trusted person is appointed to make health care decisions on your behalf and that your health care wishes are made known in your advanced health care directive.
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This article should not be construed as legal advice. Situations are different and it’s impossible to provide legal advice for every situation without knowing the individual facts.