5 Commonly Held Myths about End-​of-​Life Issues

"Some people don't have a health care power of attorney or living will because they don't realize how important these documents are. Others worry that such documents mean they are signing their lives away. Not so. Living wills and health care proxies ‰ÛÓ documents known as advance care directives ‰ÛÓ give a person a voice in decisions about medical care at the end of life. Without these documents, choices may be left up to a doctor or a judge."

"These powerful documents make sure that people get the treatment they would want for themselves if they couldn't communicate their wishes." Here are a few myths from Harvard Medical School's "Living Wills" report that shouldn't get in the way of creating a health care power of attorney or living will:

Myth: More care is always better.

Truth: Not necessarily. Sometimes more care prolongs the dying process without respect for quality of life or comfort. It's important to know what interventions are truly important. It's often impossible to know that in advance. That's where the advice of a health care team is invaluable.

Myth: Refusing life support invalidates your life insurance, because you are committing suicide.

Truth: Refusing life support does not mean that you are committing suicide. Instead, the underlying medical problem is considered to be the cause of death.

Myth: If medical treatment is started, it cannot be stopped.

Truth: Not starting a medical treatment and stopping a treatment are the same in the eyes of the law. So you or your health care agent can approve a treatment for a trial period that you think may be helpful, without any fear that you can't change your mind later. However, be aware that stopping treatment can be more emotionally difficult than not starting it in the first place.

Myth: If you refuse life-​extending treatments, you're refusing all treatments.

Truth: No matter what treatments you refuse, you should still expect to receive any other care you need or want ‰ÛÓ especially the pain and symptom management sometimes called intensive comfort care.

Myth: Stopping or refusing artificial nutrition and hydration causes pain for someone who is dying.

Truth: Unlike keeping food or water from a healthy person, for someone who is dying, declining artificial nutrition or intravenous hydration does not cause pain.

Try using these common misconceptions in advertising pieces and spots for your funeral homes, cemeteries, attorneys and other final planning providers. AudienceSCAN found that only 2.4% of adults plan to pay for funeral/​burial, other final expenses in the next 12 months. That means this kind of informative advertising is a HUGE opportunity for you and your marketers! End-​of-​life shoppers are 54% more likely than average to have taken action based on sponsored search results (like on Google, Yahoo or Bing) in the past month, so that's a good place to start ads! Also, 71.4% took action after watching TV (over-​the-​air, online, mobile or tablet) commercials in the past year.

AudienceSCAN data is available as part of a subscription to AdMall for Agencies. Media companies can access AudienceSCAN data through the Audience Intelligence Reports inåÊAdMall.

Courtney Huckabay
Courtney is the Editor for SalesFuel Today. She analyzes secondary customer research and our primary AudienceSCAN research. Courtney is a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University.