Patient families, health care providers discuss importance of advance directives

SALT LAKE CITY - Health care providers around the country are reminding people about the importance of advance health care directives, a document that outlines what you would like to happen should you become gravely ill.

Here in Utah, the Huntsman Cancer Institute helps simplify the process for patients and their families.

David Lindblad lost his wife Lisa to brain cancer after 37 years of marriage. Though it was still painful, Lindblad and his family felt comfort knowing his wife had a say in the final moments of her life.

"When it came time to remove life support, I went to that and I read it to them and said, this is what she wants," Lindblad said. "It was a horrible thing, but to be able to make sure that you did what she wanted. I can`t think of anything more I'd rather have than that."

Sue Childress is the Director of Nursing at Huntsman Cancer Institute. She says she sees the need for advance directives every day.

"These days in healthcare, we have so much technology," Childress said. "The question is sometimes an ethical one and the question is, should we use all that technology?"

While saying goodbye to a loved one is never easy, Lindblad's daughter says knowing her mother's wishes ahead of time allowed her to focus on her mom.

"Nobody was fighting in the end, nobody was arguing if that was the right thing to do. Nobody was blaming anybody," Ann-Marie Lindblad said.

Only 37% of people in the United States have an advance directive. The form is just a few pages, and is available on the Huntsman Cancer Institute website.

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