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Advance Directives

What Should Your Advance Directive Include? It’s Never Too Early

Are you thinking of taking your healthcare directive, but you feel it’s too early? Probably that’s not the case. A study by Reuters revealed have around 36% of US citizens have advanced medical directives.

If you want to get future health will, this is the time. Health is entirely unpredictable and tomorrow might be different from today. Advance directives are common for people suffering from chronic diseases. However, everyone can have them.

Making critical personal decisions is vital for everyone. There are two types of advance directives: the power of the attorney and the living will

Both advance directives should give medical care directions when the patient is not in a state to act.

The Power of the Attorney

What shall be responsible for making your health decisions? Your health care proxy shall make sure that the details of the directive are followed. In case of an unanticipated situation, the chosen person shall take care of your wishes.

The health care can be one of the following;

  • A person who meets the state’s health care agent representative
  • Someone outside your medical care team
  • A trusted advocate who can handle any disagreements
  • A person willing you can discuss end-of-life issues with
  • A person who can adhere to your wishes and values

Choosing the right person can be tricky, but you shouldn’t sweat over it. It can be your family member, spouse, or friend. People close to you can make good health agents.

The Living Will

A living will is a written document that dictates the medical actions that to be taken in an end-of-life situation. The will also state the preferences for organ donation, pain management, and vital medical decisions.

When writing the living will, you should put your values first. Under what circumstances would you want to keep living or not? Would you consider any treatment to keep you living?

When writing the living will, it’s essential to evaluate all circumstances of your life. A good living will include possible end-of-life care decisions.

Talk to your doctor on the following issues;

Dialysis

Would you prefer to have blood and waste removed from your blood in case of kidney failure? How long should you like this treatment?

Tissue and Organ Donations

Would you like to have organs donated to you in case of a terminal condition? Would you like to donate some of your body organs under a temporary life-sustaining treatment? It is vital to include these clauses in the will to avoid confusing the health agent in the future.

Body Donation

In an end-of-life situation, you can decide to donate your body rather than burial. You can choose a local university and medical school. If this is the case, you have to register for the donation program.

Tube Feeding

In case you are unable to eat or drink, for how long would you prefer intravenous feeding? What if tube feeding was the last resort, would you opt for it?

Comfort Care

This includes the medical procedures that can help in pain management, invasive tests or treatments. Would you like to die at home in case of a terminal medical condition?

Why Do You Need An Advance Directive?

After adverse health conditions, the burdens that many families are left with are always extreme and beyond their means. To relieve your family from the hassle of medical care, you should create a directive that will be put in place. You can talk to a lawyer and memorial services for more information on what to do.

Advance directives are essential in several ways;

I). Self-Protection

Since you are the custodian of your health, an advance directive must come in place to protect you in the future. Removing the critical decision from physicians ensures your protection. Also, some health conditions require the most important choices that only you can make.

II). Living To Your Expectations

In critical conditions, your family might be forced to decide on your behalf. Their wishes might not be your wishes, and thus you have to lay down what you think is right. Your directive should reflect the personal belief system.

III). Relieving Your Family From Future Burdens

An advance directive can save your family from the burden of footing bills after your death. Also, they don’t have to run up and down trying to act after you endure any condition. The advance directive should cater to that.

How to Prepare the Advance Directives

Preparing the directive is not an easy task. Firstly, you need to accept the fact that your health might deteriorate at some point in life. Also, you have to come to terms with the fact that you won’t make decisions anymore at some point.

Before writing down your directives, do the following;

  • Talk with your family and friend about your end-of-life preferences
  • Be aware of all available treatment options, including surgery
  • Pick the type of treatment you would want
  • Consult an experienced doctor

A health directive doesn’t require legal assistance, unlike property directives. While preparing the advance directives do the following;

  • Adhere to the state-specific guidelines
  • Ensure that the directives are accurate to reflect your decisions
  • Make sure your medical team and family are aware of the directives
  • Crosscheck if the directives are accurate and countersigned
  • Let someone else read the directives to check if they are accurate

After drafting the directive, talk to whoever will be involved in your healthcare decision making. Let them know everything from start to finish to avoid confusion in the future.

When you finish the process of creating the directives, keep a clean record. You should give copies of the directive to the medical team and health agent. Also, provide the family with a copy of the directives.

A wallet card is also appropriate in case of an emergency. Draft a card the will indicate you have medical directives and the contacts of your agent and physician. This can be vital in case of an unprecedented emergency.

The Bottom Line

A health directive is vital, and you should treat it with dignity. If you are planning on creating one, make sure it is accurate and acceptable. Don’t leave behind a burden to friends and family.

The advance directive will act as your decision at the critical moments of life. Keep your future decisions realistic and straightforward.

As you turn old, here is a checklist that should be useful in getting ready.

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