It's a good idea to plan as early as possible for end-of-life affairs and decisions even for the healthiest and youngest among us. With lung cancer, unfortunately, because of the speed with which cancer can progress there is even greater urgency than with most other illnesses.
You are in the best position as a caregiver to help your loved one and other family members address, as early as possible, the practical, logistical, and emotional concerns that go along with an often fast-moving disease.
You need not be afraid to raise financial and legal issues with your loved one taking care of these details has absolutely nothing to do with lung cancer or any other disease. Rather, it is about being prepared by striking at the healthiest time so it helps for what is inevitable for all of us. Set a good example by doing it yourself!
The following documents should be prepared with the help of a legal expert:
- Health care proxy/living will: This document gives authorization to a designated person to make health care decisions on the patient’s behalf in the event that she or he cannot do
- Power of attorney: This allows someone to act as another's advisor or attorney in general, for a specific period of time, or for a specific act. If the power of attorney's terms do not specify when it expires, it normally does so when the person who granted it dies.
- Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order (if desired): Patients may choose to forego CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) or other resuscitative attempts if their heart stops beating or their breathing stops if they have an advanced directive. A doctor may write a DNR after speaking with the patient, his or her health care proxy, and/or family about the situation.
- Will: This is a legal document that distributes the property and belongings of the dead.
- Organ and tissue donation: Even cancer patients have the option of donating organs to others or for medical research. It's possible that simply stating one's intention to donate isn't enough. You can help the patient by ensuring that the proper steps are taken to express their wishes (for example, advanced directives, organ donor cards, and driver's license).
- Letter of instructions: Despite the fact that a letter is not legally a legal document, it can provide caregivers with vital information for carrying out the patient's wishes and finding important documents and information. The caregiver may assist the patient in compiling a detailed list of:
- wishes and instructions regarding the property, children, pets, and other matters.
- Names and phone numbers of people who should be contacted, including family, friends, colleagues, and representatives (including attorneys, work managers, insurance agents, accountants, financial advisors)
- Important papers and records, including the documents mentioned above, as well as all pertinent account numbers and passwords (refer to the Washington Post article for more information), including:
- Bank and investment accounts
- Utility bills
- Internet services
- Bills, credit cards, loans
- Property title
- Social Security
- Insurance (auto, health, life)
Reference- 1. Legal and Financial Considerations. (2014, August 7). LUNGevity Foundation. https://lungevity.org/for-patients-caregivers/caregiver-resource-center/end-of-life-planning/legal-and-financial