Have you ever thought about the kind of medical care you might want for yourself when you get to a point when age is affecting your health in a major way? Have you ever thought about what would happen if you ever got too sick or injured and were not able to convey your medical wishes or end-of-life care? Even if you are not currently sick, making plans is important in making sure you get the medical care you would want. Did you know that you can literally spell out what your wishes would be in legal documents called Advance Directives. It is how you can convey your wishes to family, friends, and medical professionals who may be caring for you.
There are several forms that you can use for documenting or expressing your formal Advance Directives. You can give written instructions in a Living Will, a DNR (do not resuscitate), and a Power of Attorney for Healthcare.A Living Will can have instructions for treatments that you choose to accept or refuse, if you are in a vegetative state, have an illness or injury that is incurable, or if you are near death. It only deals with using or not- using life-prolonging measures. Instructions might include directives for resuscitation, tube-feeding, dialysis, ventilator use, or organ and tissue donation. You may get as detailed as you wish.
One shortcoming of a Living Will is that it does not let you select a person to make the healthcare decisions for you, if you are not able to. In this situation there is a document called a Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare. This document can name a healthcare proxy. A healthcare proxy is a person you have chosen the have the authority to make healthcare decisions for you. It is usually someone you are close to and has knowledge of your medical needs and wishes.Creating Advance Directives before you are faced with serious illness or injury can spare loved ones the stress of trying to make decisions regarding your care, if you did become sick or injured. So you might think about what you would “want” or “not want” and take time to document it and appoint a person to make those decisions for you. In the end, it can give you and your family peace of mind.