Auburn Crest Hospice | The Advance Directive: The Document that Speaks When You Can’t
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The Advance Directive: The Document that Speaks When You Can’t

The Advance Directive: The Document that Speaks When You Can’t

Advance directives are legal documents that help you to plan and direct your medical care wishes, especially in end of life circumstances. These only take effect when you are unable to communicate your wishes and are most often used for especially elderly patients, though not exclusively. Any person who would like to have the power to decide their future medical attention should think about completing one.

Although the terminology differs by state, there are generally two types of advance directives: durable powers of attorney and living wills. Contrary to popular belief, you do not need a lawyer to draft an advance directive or even a notary to make it level. You simply need to have the state required number of witnesses to sign your advance directive. The durable power of attorney is also called a health care proxy. In this legal document, you decide who you trust in order to make health care decisions on your behalf. The durable power of attorney does not apply only in end of life situations but also in other serious medical situations and when two physicians agree in writing that you have lost your ability to decide.

You should choose as a proxy someone close to you who understands your desires and is comfortable with the responsibility to make important health decisions. Be sure to communicate your desires clearly and explicitly to this person and also to select another person in case the first proxy is unable to decide or not willing to do so. But rest easy, because if you regain your ability to make decisions, your proxy can no longer act in your name.

On the other hand, a living will is a document in which you specify your desires about what you would prefer if your life is at risk and you are unable to critical healthcare decisions. The procedures that you can mention in this document include but are not limited to tube feeding, dialysis, artificial ventilation and/or resuscitation. Having advance directives is something that you and your family should take into consideration early but especially if you or a loved one are considering hospice care. The main purpose of these documents is to

relieve the pressure from your family members who do not know what you want and might feel unable to make decisions that would satisfy your wishes. This document can be replaced, updated or canceled as you wish as long as you are in full command of your mental faculties.

The lack of advance directives can cause conflict if your family members have contradicting opinions about what you would prefer. If you do not appoint a trusted person to make decisions for and become incapacitated, the court can appoint a third party to make decisions for you with no guarantee that they are what would want.

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Advance directives are legal documents that help you to plan and direct your medical care wishes, especially in end of life circumstances. These only take effect when you are unable to communicate your wishes and are most often used for especially elderly patients, though not exclusively. Any person who would like to have the power to decide their future medical attention should think about completing one.

Although the terminology differs by state, there are generally two types of advance directives: durable powers of attorney and living wills. Contrary to popular belief, you do not need a lawyer to draft an advance directive or even a notary to make it level. You simply need to have the state required number of witnesses to sign your advance directive. The durable power of attorney is also called a health care proxy. In this legal document, you decide who you trust in order to make health care decisions on your behalf. The durable power of attorney does not apply only in end of life situations but also in other serious medical situations and when two physicians agree in writing that you have lost your ability to decide.

You should choose as a proxy someone close to you who understands your desires and is comfortable with the responsibility to make important health decisions. Be sure to communicate your desires clearly and explicitly to this person and also to select another person in case the first proxy is unable to decide or not willing to do so. But rest easy, because if you regain your ability to make decisions, your proxy can no longer act in your name.

On the other hand, a living will is a document in which you specify your desires about what you would prefer if your life is at risk and you are unable to critical healthcare decisions. The procedures that you can mention in this document include but are not limited to tube feeding, dialysis, artificial ventilation and/or resuscitation. Having advance directives is something that you and your family should take into consideration early but especially if you or a loved one are considering hospice care. The main purpose of these documents is to

relieve the pressure from your family members who do not know what you want and might feel unable to make decisions that would satisfy your wishes. This document can be replaced, updated or canceled as you wish as long as you are in full command of your mental faculties.

The lack of advance directives can cause conflict if your family members have contradicting opinions about what you would prefer. If you do not appoint a trusted person to make decisions for and become incapacitated, the court can appoint a third party to make decisions for you with no guarantee that they are what would want.

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