ANCHOR LEAD: DO YOU HAVE ADVANCE MEDICAL DIRECTIVES IN PLACE? MOST PEOPLE DON’T, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
Two-thirds of people don’t have advance medical directives in place in the event of a critical illness or accident, a Johns Hopkins study has shown. Such documents, including a living will and health care power of attorney, inform caregivers and loved ones about a person’s wishes if they are unable to communicate themselves. Dan Morehaim, study author, describes the results.
MOREHAIM: Basically what we found is about a third of people have advance directives but about two-thirds want them, and actually in our opinion, my personal opinion, 100% of people ought to have advance directives. Once people turn 18, it ought to be ultimately something as routine as getting a driver’s license or social security card or any of the things we normally do as part of standard civic responsibility. But in our study there’s a significant gap between the amount of people who have them and the amount of people who want them. :27
Morehaim says such documents are standardized, easily available, and easy to execute, and he encourages everyone 18 and older to do so. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.