Oftentimes, when an individual becomes incapacitated or too ill to speak for oneself, it is difficult for his or her loved ones to determine what type of health care the person would want in various circumstances. There are so many different decisions, and when you’re going through a difficult situation with all of the stress and emotions, it can be difficult to decide what is the best option. In cases such as this, it is helpful to have an advance directive.
An advance directive is a written statement of a person’s wishes regarding medical treatment. These documents will oftentimes include a living will. Such a directive will help to ensure that the individual’s wishes will be carried out should the person be unable to communicate them to a doctor or other medical professional.
When you have an advance directive in place, you have the power to make future decisions about your own critical health care without any type of outside influences. For example, if you do not wish to be put on life support following an accident or due to a serious illness, you can state this wish in an advance directive, and your wish will be followed by a medical or hospital staff should you become incapacitated in the future. Without such a document, your intentions may not be known, leaving your loved ones only to assume your wishes.
Types of Health Care Directives
There is more than one kind of health care directive. A health care proxy, also known as a durable power of attorney, is a document that names another individual – typically someone whom you fully trust – to make health decisions when you are unable to do so. This prevents any disagrees among loved ones that could make the decisions and situation even worse for everyone involved.
There is also a living will. This document describes which type of treatment you do or do not want if your life is being threatened, such as breathing machines, kidney dialysis, tube feeding, and resuscitation if you stop breathing or if your heart stops. This document may also discuss whether you wish to donate your organs and / or tissue after you pass away. This document is more involved and leaves little room for interpretation from your loved ones. It gives explicated instructions for just about every situation.
How to Get an Advance Directive
There are several ways that you can obtain an advance directive. One manner is through your doctor or your health care provider. Schedule an appointment with your primary physician and they can set up an advance directive and walk you through all of the information that needs to be included.
You can also obtain these types of documents through an attorney. If you already have an attorney, they will be able to walk you through the process and ensure that all of the documents are finalized and are legally sound.
In addition, for those who are Medicare enrollees, health care advanced directives may be obtained through your local Area Agency on Aging, as well as through your state health department.
What To Do With Your Advance Directive
Once you have filled out your advance directive, you should make several copies of it. This way, if something happens to one copy, you will be able to locate another. You should keep one copy in an easily accessible place, and let your spouse or other close family member or loved one know where it is.
You should also provide a copy of the document to your health care providers. If you are going into a hospital for major surgery, it is a good idea to have the administration at the hospital keep a copy of the document with your other paperwork there, as well.
In addition, it is also a good idea to carry a card in your purse or wallet that states the fact that you have an advance directive. That way, should you be involved in an accident, emergency responders will know to inquire about your health care wishes.
Having an advanced directive is one of the most important preparations that you can make for your future. Sure, nobody wants to think about these situations or their death, but planning ahead is one of the best decisions that you can make, but it’s also vital that you have your documents in a place they can be found by your loves ones. They aren’t going to do you any good if they can’t be found when they are needed.
Preparing for Everything
You never know what’s going to happen tomorrow. You can’t predict the future, but you can always prepare for the worst. Having health care directives has several advantages. The first is that it gives you peace of mind knowing that your wishes are going to be carried out, regardless of your condition.
Another advantage of these directives is the comfort that it’s going to give to your family and loved ones. Having to make serious decisions about a loved ones life when you don’t know their wishes can be a stressful time that takes emotional toll on a family. Having an advanced directive can take all the uncertainty out of those medical decisions that your family would have to make.One of the worst mistakes that you can make for your family is to leave them with difficult decisions. Don’t wait any longer to make these plans and decisions for your loved ones.
If you have any questions about advance directives, living wills, Medicare coverage, or long-term care, our agents will be happy to either answer those questions or point you in the direction of someone that can answer those for you. It’s important that you make educated and well-informed decisions for you and your loved ones.
Your health and well being isn’t something that should be left up to chance. You never know what is going to happen tomorrow, you shouldn’t wait any longer. You never know when tragedy is going to strike.