The controversy surrounding Terri Schiavo – the brain-damaged Florida woman who has been in a vegetative state for years – has led to increased awareness of the importance of end-of-life planning. We’ve been hearing a lot about the need for a living will. But Doctor Ann Allegre of Kansas City Hospice and Palliative Care and the Missouri End of Life Coalition says a living will, alone, might not spare people the anguish being experienced by the family of Terri Schiavo. Doctor Allegre says advance directives are needed – one to stop tube feedings and another to shift power of attorney. These directives are easy to come by. Most important, make sure wishes are written down and known by others. Doctor Allegre says the time for adults to talk about end-of-life situations and to make decisions is before tragedy strikes.
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