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  • InsideTrack
  • April 06, 2022

    April 16 is Healthcare Decisions Day in Wisconsin

    April 6, 2022 – After nine years of practicing estate planning and elder law, Appleton lawyer Jon Fischer has seen up close the effects of failing to plan for end-of-life care.

    One of Fischer’s clients lies in hospital bed in a persistent vegetative state, the result of motorcycle accident. Because the client didn’t execute an advance directive, Fischer said the family will need a court order to make any end-of-life decision.

    Other clients face less dire but no less compelling situations.

    “I’ve also had lots of clients who have failed to do a healthcare power of attorney and then they’ll have a dementia issue and end up in the hospital for an unrelated reason and the doctor will want to discharge them to a nursing home for rehab,” Fischer said.

    “Without having checked the box for healthcare power of attorney to allow for that admission, it makes an already difficult scenario even worse.”

    Experiences like those inspired Fischer to become involved with the Fox Valley Advance Care Planning Partnership. The partnership helps promote National Healthcare Decisions Day, which is April 16. Governor Evers has proclaimed April 16 to be Healthcare Decisions Day in Wisconsin. 

    “Who can help them when they’re in trouble, how are those decisions made, expressing their desires about whether they’d want certain procedures,” Fischer said. “That really motivates me to try and help people get these documents in place.”

    Fischer said that end-of-life legal worries and the delays they often cause add an extra burden to families already struggling to cope with major stress.

    Lawyers can help clients avoid that by proactively addressing end-of-life and other important healthcare decisions, Fischer said.

    “It can be a very positive thing. To talk to families when there’s not this urgent need for some sort of end-of-life decision to be made, it gives the families the ability to have those discussions in a more thoughtful way.

    “If we can do things before our hair’s on fire, then we have the ability to think about them and get them done in a way that doesn’t have to be morbid,” Fischer said.

    End of Life Planning Guide, Free Downloads, April 6 –April 22

    A Gift to Your Family life planning guide

    To mark National Healthcare Decisions Day, which takes place annually on April 16, the State Bar of Wisconsin is offering free downloads of A Gift to Your Family: Planning Ahead for Future Health Needs in Wisconsin, ​from April 6 through April 22, 2022.

    Who will make your medical decisions when you can't?

    Talking about your preferences for treatment will save your family the heartache of having to make decisions for you without knowing your wishes. A Gift to Your Family: Planning Ahead for Future Health Needs in Wisconsin helps you get started with the information and forms needed to make your wishes known.

    A Gift to Your Family has been expertly reviewed, refreshed, and re-published as an 8th edition. You’ll find information on advance directives, health care agents, and organ and tissue donations. You’ll also find documents and instructions for creating a Power of Attorney for Health Care and a Declaration to Physicians (living will), a resources list, and removable wallet cards.

    Download your free copy of A Gift to Your Family, from April 6 – April 22.

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