The purpose of this assignment is to reflect on the experience of completing an advance directive. You will not be graded on the advance directive itself but you do need to attach it to your paper so we know you actually completed it.This is not an argumentative essay – you are not required to formulate and defend a thesis. In addition to the usual stuff (grammar, spelling, organization, etc.), your grade will depend on three things:
1) The quality and depth of your reflection on the process of completing the directive and discussing it with your substitute decision maker;
2) How effectively your reflections relate to the lecture, readings, and research on advance directives;
3) Whether your reflections relate to other material discussed in the course.
There are three steps to this assignment:
Step 1: Complete an advance directive
Download the Joint Centre for Bioethics Living Will from blackboard. Read through the relevant preliminary information in the document and then complete the directive starting on page 19(don’t bother with the witness signatures). Out of respect for the privacy of others you do not need to include the names of your appointed decision
makers; it is sufficient to simply say “My mother” or “Both my parents” or “My two best friends” or whatever. If you require more room for your instructions than is provided in the document, feel free to attach additional pages. If there is another type of advance directive that you would rather use, or you have already completed a document and would like to use that one, please check with me first.
Step 2: Discuss the directive with your appointed substitute decision maker(s)
While this may be uncomfortable, it is an important part of the process. Find some time to talk with your decision maker(s) about your wishes and their role as substitute decision makers. Try your best not to let them brush it off; pretend this is your actual advance directive and try to get them to take it seriously. If they absolutely refuse to talk about it, or tell you they can’t fulfill your wishes, you might want to consider appointing a different decision maker.
Step 3: Write about the experience Do some research on advance directives, particularly as it relates to your own experience. For example, if you think cultural factors were relevant to your experience,
do some research on that topic. The purpose of the research is to situate your personal experience in the broader literature on advance directives. Then write about the whole experience, with consideration to the questions on the following pages.
Questions to consider when writing the paper
? How did you feel completing the document? ? What considerations were relevant to your choice of substitute decision maker(s)? Why did you choose that person or those people? ? How did your decision maker(s) react when you discussed it with them? Was the conversation
difficult? Why or why not? ? Were there concerns that arose during the discussion regarding your decision maker’s ability or willingness to carry out your wishes? ? Why did you provide the instructions or express the wishes you did? ? Did the experience give you a feeling of control over your end-of-life decisions? ? Is there anything that worries you about completing the advance directive? ? How has the course material influenced your thinking about the advance directive and your end-of-life wishes?
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