Thursday, April 16, 2009

Happy National Healthcare Decisions Day!

Thursday, April 16th is National Healthcare Decisions Day. So as mature, rational adults, sit yourselves down and get your end-of-life act together. You know how much it pisses me off when no one knows what funeral home to call!


Gail Rae said...

Totally shameless plug, here. Consider donating your body to science. It's easy and it takes care of the mortuary problem. You have whomever is officiating at the person's death, in our case it was Hospice, call the agency you're using (who should have issued you contact information at the time of sign up) for body donation and they take care of the mortuary assignment, you end up not having to pay a mortuary anything unless you decide to have one handle services and it includes free cremation and return of any cremains (obviously, in some cases, there may not be anything left for cremation) for postage and handling (if you so choose to have the cremains returned to you). If you happen to live in the area of the agency's home office, you can pick up the cremains without paying postage and handling (as did my sister regarding my mother's cremains) cremation is completely free.
It's also possible, if viewing is preferred, to set up viewing arrangements with the mortuary handling the delivery of the body to the donation agency. We almost did this, but the sister who thought she wanted to view Mom's body changed her mind. I don't know if there would be a cost from the mortuary for this. Nothing was mentioned but, if my sister had insisted, I was prepared to pay for it.
According to Science Care's FAQs, depending on the "amount" and location of the donation (in other words, you don't necessarily have to donate your entire body), open casket funerals may still be possible. As well, if you are planning on a full fledged, mortuary handled funeral, this remains possible, depending on the donating stipulations. Along this line, I don't know if you can specify a preferred funeral home if a mortuary handled funeral is your desire, but I can't see why this wouldn't be possible.
The agency we used is:
Science Care, although I'm sure a quick search on the internet would reveal others.
Although the agency we used cautioned us that Mom's cremains may not be available for up to six months, we had them back a month and a week after her death.
As well, in case anyone is wondering, and if it would make a difference to you as a survivor, I've handled human cremains before and, frankly, Mom's felt a bit on the light side, which indicates that some of her, at least, was put to good use. Some people, though, might find this experience a bit "ooky".
Yes, I'm a body donor.
Oh, and, by the way, Dethmama, the link to that December mortuary post is broken. Thought you might want to know that.

dethmama said...

@ Gail Rae...Excellent advice!
Shoot, you're right. The link is not working. (sigh)

Jessica Knapp said...

Hear, hear Gail Rae.

Odd coincidence, my parents took a trip out to the Midwest and spent Thursday making a bunch of end-of-life decisions with my paternal grandfather—DNR or no DNR, nursing home vs. assisted living facility. I'll have to tell them they randomly picked the perfect day of the year to do it.