“Creating an Advanced Directive: Ensuring Your Healthcare Preferences are Honored”
An Advanced Directive is a vital legal document that outlines an individual’s preferences for medical care, particularly end-of-life treatment, should they become unable to make decisions for themselves. This document is essential for anyone seeking to have control over their medical treatment and to relieve their loved ones of making difficult decisions during emotional times.
Creating an Advanced Directive is recommended for adults of all ages, not just the elderly or those with chronic conditions. It becomes crucial when an individual wants to establish clear guidelines for healthcare providers and family members about treatment preferences in situations where they cannot communicate their wishes due to incapacitation or illness.
How to Draft
To draft an Advanced Directive:
- Personal Information: Start with your full legal name, date of birth, and other identifying details.
- Treatment Preferences: Clearly articulate your wishes regarding medical treatment, including life-sustaining measures, resuscitation, mechanical ventilation, and artificial nutrition and hydration.
- Healthcare Power of Attorney: Optionally, appoint a healthcare power of attorney (also known as a healthcare proxy) to make decisions on your behalf.
- Specific Instructions: You may include specific instructions or conditions under which you prefer or refuse certain treatments.
- Signature and Witnesses: Sign the document in the presence of witnesses as required by your state laws. Some states may also require notarization.
While an Advanced Directive doesn’t need to be filed with any government agency, it should be easily accessible. Give copies to your healthcare power of attorney, family members, your doctor, and any healthcare facility where you receive treatment. Keep a copy in a safe but accessible place and consider having a digital copy available.
An Advanced Directive is a powerful tool that ensures your healthcare preferences are understood and respected. It provides peace of mind, knowing that your wishes will be honored, and it eases the decision-making burden on family members and healthcare providers. Thoughtfully preparing this document is an act of compassion for yourself and your loved ones.