Why You Need An Advanced Healthcare Directive
Deborah lost the ability to communicate after a major stroke. She couldn’t tell the doctors what kind of medical treatment she preferred. Stanley wanted to have a peaceful death on his terms, in his time. Both Deborah and Stanley would have rested easier if they could have communicated with their medical providers. An Advanced Healthcare Directive could have helped Deborah, Stanley – and their loved ones.
1 – Make Sure You Get the Care You Want
Most people have given some thought to medical treatment. And many of us have specific ideas about the type of treatments we want. But how will your medical providers and loved ones know what you want, if you don’t tell them?
An advanced healthcare directive is a legal document signed by someone who wants their medical treatment to go as smoothly as possible. It’s your voice, when you are not able to communicate for some reason. The healthcare directive does even more, though.
Deborah’s family could have used her directive to help her doctors make informed decisions.
2 – Prevent Treatments You Don’t Want
You probably also have thought about medical treatment you don’t want. Your advanced healthcare directive is your chance to tell the doctors what treatments to avoid.
In some cases, doctors can refuse to comply with your advanced healthcare directive. Perhaps they don’t agree with the directive or have a moral conviction that creates a conflict. At that point, however, they have a duty to transfer you to another facility or provider.
If Stanley became terminally ill, his loved ones might be confused or even disagreeing about his end-of-life treatment. An advanced healthcare directive would have cleared things up immediately.
3 – Designate An Agent To Make Decisions
In addition to stating your preferences, your advanced healthcare directive can include a medical power of attorney. Also called a health care power of attorney, this document allows you to name an agent to make medical decisions for you.
Your agent authority to make decisions for you is limited by the terms of the health care power of attorney or certain court orders. Otherwise, your agent will work with your medical providers on your behalf.
Both Deborah and Stanley would have benefited from a well-drafted advanced healthcare directive. Instead of family members debating who would make decisions, agents would have been in place already.
4 – Informs Your Family Of Your Wishes
It’s hard, talking about end-of-life treatment and serious illness. So, if you don’t feel comfortable talking to your family, your advanced healthcare directive will do it for you.
Just make sure your family knows you have signed a directive and where it is located.
Deborah never really talked about her feelings very much. She didn’t feel comfortable speaking with her family about her medical preferences. Signing a directive and placing it in her medical records would have helped her doctors, while preserving her privacy.
5 – Informs Medical Providers Of Your Decisions
Medical providers need to focus on your care. An advanced healthcare directive tells the doctors, in black and white, how you feel about your care. They will have a ready reference that should help their decision making.
Stanley’s family felt awkward talking about his terminal illness. So, they never did. Then, one day, they had to start making decisions for him and didn’t know where to turn. A directive would have eased their stress, just a little.
Have You Signed An Advanced Healthcare Directive?
To discuss your concerns with a qualified Arizona estate planning lawyer, call us at (480) 418-8448 or check out one of our free seminars. We offer services for clients throughout Arizona, including Chandler, Gilbert, Sun Lakes, Tempe, Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, and Apache Junction.