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Health News Florida
News about coronavirus in Florida and around the world is constantly emerging. It's hard to stay on top of it all but Health News Florida can help. Our responsibility is to keep you informed, and to help discern what’s important for your family as you make what could be life-saving decisions.

Healthcare Directives In The Midst Of The Coronavirus Pandemic

Healthcare directives aren't just for the elderly. "What we know about younger people is that they are more often in the circumstance where life support may be needed," says Rev. Candace McKibben of Big Bend Hospice. "There are more accidental situations among younger adults than older adults."
Healthcare directives aren't just for the elderly. "What we know about younger people is that they are more often in the circumstance where life support may be needed," says Rev. Candace McKibben of Big Bend Hospice. "There are more accidental situations among younger adults than older adults."
Healthcare directives aren't just for the elderly. "What we know about younger people is that they are more often in the circumstance where life support may be needed," says Rev. Candace McKibben of Big Bend Hospice. "There are more accidental situations among younger adults than older adults."
Credit Olga Kononenko/Unsplash
Healthcare directives aren't just for the elderly. "What we know about younger people is that they are more often in the circumstance where life support may be needed," says Rev. Candace McKibben of Big Bend Hospice. "There are more accidental situations among younger adults than older adults."

National Healthcare Decisions Day falls on April 16th. Scheduled events to mark the day are being cancelled – as people of all ages, seemingly healthy, are dying of COVID-19.

Anyone over the age of 18 should have a healthcare proxy to make medical decisions if necessary. Naming a medical representative is as easy as going online and downloading a free form.

“The critical thing is to name someone who would speak for you if you could not speak for yourself and to be sure that you’ve had a good conversation with that person about the things that you would want,” says Rev. Candace McKibben, Director of Faith Outreach at Big Bend Hospice. “I’ve heard couples in my office who are talking about this who will say, ‘I didn’t know that would be what you would want.’”

McKibben says talking about death can make people anxious, leading them to avoid making decisions about healthcare directives. Plus, she says we often think there is plenty of time to have those discussions.

Rev. Candace McKibben
Credit Candace McKibben
Rev. Candace McKibben

“I think particularly in this pandemic situation, we are made aware of just how important it is for us to have these vital conversations,” says McKibben, who is still allowed to visit with dying patients if the family requests it. Because of restrictions now in place in nursing homes and other such facilities due to COVID-19, family members aren’t allowed to see their loved ones until the very end.

By the way, McKibben says April 16 th was chosen as National Healthcare Decisions Day because the founder, Nathan Kottkamp, noted two things are certain in life: death and taxes, the latter of which comes due every April 15 th.

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