Advance Health Care Directive

Here’s the thing; chances are, you or someone you dearly care about, will end up in a hospital bed at some time or another.  Do you know exactly what their wishes are, and do they know exactly what your wishes are?  More importantly, do you have them written down and notarized so that there will be no legal question as to yours (or their) wishes?

An advance health care directive, also known as living will, personal directive, advance directive, or advance decision, is a set of written instructions that a person gives that specify what actions should be taken for their health if they are no longer able to make decisions due to illness or incapacity. The instruction appoints someone, usually called an agent, to make such decisions on their behalf. A living will is one form of advance directive, leaving instructions for treatment. Another form authorizes a specific type of power of attorney or health care proxy, where someone is appointed by the individual to make decisions on their behalf when they are incapacitated. People may also have a combination of both. People are often encouraged to complete both documents to provide comprehensive guidance regarding their care.

The following two links are excellent resources for advanced directive forms and questions.

An excellent article written in the NY Times talks about Advance Directive and the emotional barriers we put up that keep us from getting it done.

Talk to your parents, your spouse, your partner or your kids and get it done.  Really, it is not that difficult and it will make everything so much easier when you need it!

Those of you who have complete one, please comment and tell everyone how easy it was.  Those of you who have not yet completed one, please comment and tell us what your barriers are.


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