LIMA — The topic is one that is not discussed enough, if at all in many families.
But end-of-life decisions should be discussed and better yet, put in writing to avoid disputes in families while truly honoring what a person wants should he or she face a life-ending illness or circumstance.
On Monday, administrators and staff at Lima Memorial Health System met with state Rep. Bob Cupp to talk about Senate Bill 165 and hear about the benefits of a bill to create advanced medical orders for life sustaining treatment form that has easily passed the Ohio Senate and soon will be taken up by the House.
Cupp heard some horror stories about families fighting over the care of a mother or father facing a terminal illness without instructions in place on what that person wanted.
“The concern here is to always allow something to have the patient’s wishes carried out but with the appropriate precautions the patient is not pushed along faster,” Cupp said.
The bill would set up specific instructions on what to do in the case of a terminal illness or a sudden accident that a person won’t survive. The proposal is to create a simple to understand form that a person fills out to choose the type of care he or she wants if faced with such a decision. For example, whether to be on a breathing machine to keep a person alive would be a choice.
“This bill is designed to create something less complex and use more ordinary, common terms more people understand,” Cupp said.
Dr. J. Stephen Sandy, the director of advanced disease services at Lima Memorial, said they see the problem play out on nearly a daily basis. When someone is on their deathbed is not the time to be making such a decision especially if the decisions are left up to several of the loved one’s children, he said.
“This is going to help us with end of life issues,” he said. “When you have that advanced directive you know what mom and dad wanted.”
If passed, Lima Memorial will encourage people to make such important decisions well before they are facing an end-of-life illness, said Lima Memorial President and CEO Mike Swick.
“You fill it out when you’re of sound mind and health so you know what you want to do at the end of the day,” Swick said.
The meeting was held to tell Cupp what they are seeing daily and how they want it fixed. The problem is real and it’s also a tough subject to talk to family members about especially since it deals with the end of a person’s life, which many may not want to discuss, Swick said.
Reach Greg Sowinski at 567-242-0464 or on Twitter @Lima_Sowinski.