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Not being able to make decisions about your health care can be disastrous, however, having advanced health care directives can save you from such a situation
A Brief Guide to Advance Directives
Advance directives are legal instructions prepared by attorneys about your health care preferences if you are unable to make decisions for yourself. Advance directives guide the choices of doctors and caregivers if you are terminally ill, seriously injured, in an advanced stage of dementia, in a coma, or near the end of your life. Advance directives aren’t just for older adults but can also be convenient during unexpected critical situations at any age, so it is important you prepare these documents.
Helping you Plan What is Important
What if you are unable to make healthcare decisions for yourself due to an injury or illness? Imagine if you were in the hospital, dying of cancer and confused. In such a case, advanced directives can help people express their decisions regarding treatment options in cases where they are unable to make such decisions.
The Advance Health Care Directive (AHCD) allows you to designate a person (health care agent, attorney-in-fact, representative, or surrogate) to make a decision for you if you are unable to speak for yourself. Almost all states in the US recognize the AHCD but have their own forms, as the laws vary by state.
At Gary A. Bixler Attorney at Law, we provide assistance in creating advance directives in Santa Maria, Grover Beach, and San Luis Obispo. We believe that by planning ahead, you can get the medical care you want, avoid unnecessary suffering, and relieve caregivers of the burden of making decisions in times of crisis or pain. You will also help reduce confusion or disagreement about decisions that you would like people to make on your behalf.
Why do you need Advance Directives?
Advance Directives are for every adult, including mature and emancipated minors. You never know when you are going to have an accident or suffer from an illness that can leave you unable to make decisions on your health care. As per the recent stats, only 38% of Americans have a Designated Health Care Representative. Appointing a health care representative, also called health care power of attorney, gives the person you name the power to consent to your health care should you become incapacitated.
Appointing a health care representative can simplify your care. When choosing a person to make these kinds of decisions, the doctor does not need to ask every other person in the family about the medical procedure, and neither does he need to listen to different opinions on what needs to be done. The appointment of the health care representative causes one person to make decisions, and that person is the only person your doctor should consult.
Your appointment of a health care representative should be something that you consider on a regular basis to make sure you have the person suitable selected for the job. It is also important for your family to know who has this power of attorney so that person can be notified if something happens to you.
Discussing these issues with your attorney is an important step in creating and assigning these powers, and your appointment of a health care representative should be considered in conjunction with your living will.