LONG ISLAND — As thousands of Americans become infected with the coronavirus, many doctors are urging even those who are healthy to have conversation with their loved ones about end-of-life wishes.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, only 27% of people in the U.S. have documented their wishes in the form of an advanced directive and less than 20% discussed those wishes with their health care provider.
We spoke with one doctor at Northwell Health who says now's the time.
The coronavirus has taken away our control over many things, including possibly our final days. Cardiologist Evelina Grayver is seeing this scenario unravel at Northshore University Hospital where she's now a leading physician in their biggest COVID-19 unit.
“Patients are completely different at this period, before I could have conversations with patients, and at this period of time, every patient is on ventilator support. If they are in my unit, they are incredibly sick. They're alone, and by the time they come to me I have no idea if they want to be on a respirator, how long, no idea what their wish were or are.”
Dr. Grayver says no matter how old you are you must have a plan about how aggressive you want a physician to be with you when you are in the hospital. “These are crucial conversations families need to have.”
If you'd like more information on filling out an advanced medical directive, AARP.COM has free forms you can download and they take you through the process step by step.