As reported in the New York Times on January 19, 2018:
Dr. Barak Gaster, an internist at the University of Washington School of Medicine, spent three years working with specialists in geriatrics, neurology, palliative care and psychiatry to come up with a five-page document that he calls a dementia-specific advance directive.
The directive is a five page document that very carefully and clearly lays out the different stages of dementia and the potential effect on the patient. The point of the document is to have patients identify what type and level of care they would be willing to accept at each stage of dementia.
Dr. Gaster noted that part of the reason behind the collaboration was due to the fact that many patients stumble “into the advanced stage of dementia before anyone identifies it and talks to them about what’s happening. At what point, if ever, would they not want medical interventions to keep them alive longer? A lot of people have strong opinions about this, but it’s hard to figure out how to let them express them as the disease progresses.”
Though some question the efficacy of the additional paperwork, what is not up for debate is the need for patients to discuss their end-of-life wishes with friends, family, and physicians.
See Paula Span, One Day Your Mind May Fade. At Least You’ll Have a Plan., The New York Times, January 19, 2018.
View and download Dr. Gaster’s advanced directive here.