Do you have a document for your family to refer to if something terrible were to happen to you today? Do they have any way of knowing how you would like to be taken care of if you fall ill or where you wish to spend your last days? If you answered no, you are not alone. Most people do not think about such things, which can result in family members being forced to make tough decisions in the spur of the moment. Having an advanced care directive eliminates the possibility of this ever being the case.
What to Include in Your Advanced Care Directive
An advanced care directive is a legal document that articulates your wishes for your health if you were ever to lose the ability to make decisions on your own. This document includes the designation of a health care agent -- the individual you trust to make medical decisions on your behalf -- and much more. Other details you could add to your advanced care directive include:
- Whether or not you want life support
- Preferred life support treatments (if any)
- “Do Not Resuscitate” orders
- Organ and tissue donor preferences
- Where you would like to stay during your end-of-life care
- Whether to allow or restrict visitors
- A request for spiritual care
When you craft an advanced care directive, your health care proxy is the person who ensures that hospital staff, doctors, caregivers, and others meet your requests. Being that tragedy can strike at any moment, having an advanced care directive is not only beneficial to the elderly but all adults.
Benefits of an Advanced Care Directive
Having an advanced care directive benefits all parties involved. This binding legal document informs doctors what you want or do not want to be done while also preventing internal family conflicts and providing them with much-needed peace of mind.
An advanced care directive can also prevent the chance of you being subjected to palliative care (commonly referred to as comfort care) which can be extremely costly. As a result, you can avoid:
- Experiencing unnecessary pain
- Undergoing unwanted procedures
- Receiving unwanted hospitalization
Facts About Advanced Care Directives
While beneficial, it is essential that you stay abreast of the specifics surrounding advanced care directives:
- Advanced care directives are not consistent across all states, which makes having one in each state you frequent a necessity.
- Drafting a new document is needed to make changes to an advanced care directive.
- Emergency medical technicians have a legal obligation to do everything in their power to keep you stable, which prevents them from honoring your advanced care directive.
- Advanced care directives are honored once your condition is assessed by a medical professional.
When drafting any legal document, it is vital to have a seasoned attorney by your side. The estate planning lawyers at Heritage Law Office of Wisconsin bring extensive experience to the table and can help ensure that all facets of your advanced care directive are addressed. Contact us today at 414-253-8500 for a free case evaluation.
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