An advance directive is a legal document that allows you to write down decisions about your end-of-life care. While advance directives can also be referred to as part of a living will, a specific healthcare advance directive is a specific set of instructions that you prepare in advance of ill health. This way your loved ones know your preferences in life-threatening or end-of-life medical decisions. This will give you peace of mind that your wishes are honored, especially in the case that you are unable to request actions yourself.
Creating an Advance Healthcare Directive
When filling out your advance healthcare directive, you want to include:
- Your healthcare proxy’s name and contact information
- Your healthcare preferences
- The names of those who witness you signing an advanced directive (if required by your state).
- A notary’s signature (if required by your state)
Details to Include In Advance Healthcare Directives
You should detail the kind of care you would like to receive towards the end of your life. You should include the things you don’t want to be included as well. For example, you’ll want to consider life-prolonging measurements including respiratory machines and feeding tubes. In addition, you want to put what you want to have done to your body once you’ve passed.
A general rule of thumb is to consider the five wishes:
- Wish 1: The person I want to make healthcare decisions for me
- Wish 2: The kind of medical treatment I want or don’t want
- Wish 3: The level of comfort I’d like to receive
- Wish 4: How I’d like people to treat me
- Wish 5: What I’d like my healthcare proxy or loved ones to know
Make sure the person/persons you want to make the decisions know you well. Make sure you have a detailed conversation with them and that they are able to make these decisions when put under emotional distress.
Who Should Have A Copy Of Your Advance Directive
Here are the people who should have copies of your advance directive:
- Your primary/alternative healthcare proxies
- Your doctors or doctors
- Spouses, family members, or friends at your discretion
Consult A Lawyer
Putting together something as essential as an advance directive can seem overwhelming. This is why you should consult legal advice. Smith Barid has a lot of experience with end-of-life cases and helping individuals put together an advance directive. By taking advanced advantage of our experience, you can have peace of mind knowing you’ve put together your advance directive properly.