What Is an Advance Health Care Directive? | Rubén J. Padrón, PA

What Is an Advance Health Care Directive?

August 16, 2022

Planning for the future can sometimes mean making tough decisions and having tough conversations. It is essential that you take the time to reflect on these decisions and have these conversations though. Advanced care planning is the only way to make your wishes and intentions known to your family and the best way to ensure that your wishes and instructions are carried out in the manner in which you desire.

Advanced care planning truly does put you in charge. One important aspect of advanced care planning is the Advanced Care Directive. In this quick guide, we will provide you with more information on this important topic, so you will know how to incorporate an Advanced Care Directive into your other advanced care.

What Is an Advanced Care Directive?

An advance directive is a legal document that clearly outlines and explains exactly how you would like medical decisions concerning your health and quality of life to be handled. This document can be referred to in a situation where you cannot make decisions for yourself.

Why Would I Need This Document?

If you are incapacitated for any reason, your family will be left to make medical decisions on your behalf. They must try to navigate and sometimes guess what you would have wanted to be done. This can be a traumatic event if difficult decisions need to be made, such as choices concerning life support.

If this document is already prepared, then your family and medical team will be able to refer to it and rest assured that they are carrying out your wishes precisely.

What Details Should Be Included?

Advance directives only apply to health care decisions. When creating this document, you should give careful consideration to how you would want to be treated if you cannot make choices for yourself. Most advance directives are intended to ensure that you are experiencing the quality of life you have intended for yourself.

Many people use their advance directive document to outline how care should be administered in the following situations:

  • Administration of life support
  • Administration of resuscitation efforts
  • Administration of any life-prolonging efforts

What Should Not Be Included?

An Advanced Care Directive only applies to medical decisions. This type of advance care planning does not cover any other aspects of life, such as financials. Other aspects of advanced care are intended to make your wishes and intentions known in these areas, such as a living will.

How Do I Create This Document?

The laws governing Advanced Care Directives can vary slightly from state to state. It is best to talk with a lawyer to help you create this document properly and in a way that will be legally powerful. It can also be helpful to speak with your health care provider to discuss realistic expectations.

Final Thoughts

Although making these types of plans may feel difficult and uncomfortable, it is important that your wishes and intentions are clearly known so they can be respected and carried out.

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