An advance health care directive for aging parents could eliminate many problems for their doctors. A survey of 10,000 doctors by Medscape identified many ethical dilemmas they face. Who to talk to should not have to be among them.
"Doctors were always making a large number of moral choices, but were not labeling them or seeing them as such; much of the decisions were unconscious," Murray says. For example, deciding whom to talk to in a patient's family, or getting informed consent, were previously done on the basis of a doctor's judgment or what would bring the best results. However, according to Murray, due to legalities and regulations doctors need to think: "What are my obligations? Who do I talk to?"
You can take the time, now, to talk with your aging parents and get them to name a health proxy. If there ever is a crisis and they can't speak for themselves, you don't want doctors drawn into a family feud about who should be making decisions for mom or dad.
Here is one example of a family in the midst of this conversation. Dr Nancy Snyderman speaks with her own parents.
Any time that you postpone the conversations about your parent's care or the options they face could be a detriment.
It may sound overwhelming, but many future stumbling blocks for your aging parents can be minimized by completing a medical power of attorney form.