Pastoral Care Giving and Advance Directives
It is important in Pastoral Care to also ensure that the needs of the dying patient are met in full. This not only involves physical and spiritual support but also helping one fulfill their end desires for themselves or family. Advance Directives are essential elements in knowing exactly what the dying patient would want or wish if he/she is unconscious or unresponsive in his/her final hours.
An Advance Medicial Directive can solve many problems in regards to who takes charger in an event if the person loses consciousness. It also lays out groundwork for care givers and medicial providers to follow in regards to medical treatment with regard to extra-ordinary life sustaining measures and whether to pursue prolongtation of life or pursue comfort measures.
These questions can become very confusing if there is no Advance Medicial Directive to follow and the care givers, medical providers and family members can enter into a guessing game that can lead to numerous debates. If there is a Advance Medicial Directive, the proper authorities should receive it and utilize it when the path becomes murky regarding ethical or medicial decisions.
The Directive itself lists who the patient wishes to be his/her health care represenative with alternate choices following if the primary represenative is unable to perform his/her duties. Following this is a list of situations that involve pain and suffering, mental incapacity, physical immobility, physical helplessness, interest of loved ones and potential living situations.
Ultimately the autonomy of the patient is a critical concern in pastoral care. As long as the requests are within reason, a patient’s rights must be met and listened to.
If you are interested in Pastoral Care Education, please review the program.
Mark Moran, MA, GC-C, SCC-C