For Young Adults
If you have an adult child 18 years of age or older most likely it’s you, the parent reading this; not the 18+ year old. That’s usually because of immaturity of age and the mindset young adults have that “nothing bad is ever going to happen to them, and if something does happen that it’ll all work out for the best.” That may very well be, but it’s no consolation to the parents faced with life and death decisions and no power to make those life and death decisions on behalf of their son or daughter.
Turning 18 equates to becoming an adult in most states. With that age comes new rights and requirements associated with being independent. There are new responsibilities they must be aware of and realize that they in fact will be held personally accountable for their own actions. Unfortunately, countless numbers of young adults do not understand the scope of these requirements and responsibilities and the far reaching consequences of both.
When your child turns 18, they are automatically given all the rights of any adult including the right to vote, to make their own end of life decisions, to make a will and appoint a power of attorney, to make an advanced directive, be an organ donor, sign contracts, join the military and obtain medical treatment without parental consent, in some states, drink alcohol, they’re eligible for jury duty, they can be tried as an adult in criminal court, and if they’re males, they’re required to register with the Selective Service.
The reality is that not only are most young adults clueless about their responsibilities and what they need to have in place should the unthinkable occur—whether due to illness, disease, car accidents, athletic accidents and freak accidents, but parents are equally clueless and dangerously presumptuous in thinking that should life and death decisions need to be made on behalf of their child, that they will actually be able to make those decisions. More oftentimes than not, that is not the case. That decision making will be taken out of your hands and placed in the hands of others—physicians, hospital administrators and/or medical ethics committees.
Determination of brain death for example, can be assessed by hospital administrators and physicians based on specific criteria and a death certificate issued, even when family members don’t agree with the diagnosis and prognosis and protest their actions.
Your 18+ year old child can be removed off of a ventilator or respirator without your permission.
Certain tests will not be conducted or needed surgeries performed if medical staff determines either to be too costly and futile.
Hospitals can refuse to allow you to move your child out of one hospital to another hospital who is willing to administer care differently.
LifeCare InterlockSM documents put the authority where it should be—with the family. However, these customized documents are not all that is needed. In tandem with the provision of those documents is key information provided to promote understanding and know-how of how to use them for the benefit of your child.
LifeCare InterlockSM documents are as important as one’s driver’s license. Prior to high school graduation every parent should have a real-world conversation with their son or daughter about their new responsibilities and the requirements of becoming an of-age adult. Part of that conversation includes your providing to them LifeCare InterlockSM documents, and together as a family putting these key provisions in place should the unthinkable happen.