Jane Brody spoke with me for this article on the importance and complexity of advance health care directives.
Only a quarter of adults have advance care directives, however, and only 12% of them had any input from a doctor when they created their directive.
Jane points out how much healthier it is for families to put together a proper directive:
Studies have shown that advance care planning reduces stress on patients, their families and health care providers. It also results in 30 percent fewer malpractice suits, greater patient and family satisfaction, and a lower incidence of depression, drinking problems and other signs of complicated grief among survivors.
As I say in the article, “Your lawyer shouldn’t be writing a medical contract any more than you’d want your doctor to write a legal contract,” but that is actually quite common.