An Advance Health Care Directive lets your doctor, family, and friends know your healthcare preferences, including the types of special treatment you want or don't want at the end of life, your desire to perform diagnostic tests, surgical procedures, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and organ donation. A power of attorney for medical or medical care is a type of advance directive in which you name a person to make decisions for you when you are unable to do so. In some states, this directive may also be referred to as a permanent power of attorney for health care or power of attorney for health care. What kind of medical care would you want to receive if you were too sick or hurt to express your wishes? Advance Directives are legal documents that allow you to explain your decisions about end-of-life care in advance.
They give you a way to express your wishes to family, friends and health professionals and avoid confusion later on. Advance directives explain how you want medical decisions made when you're too sick to speak for yourself. An advance directive is a form. It describes the types of medical care you want to receive if you are seriously injured or have a serious illness and cannot speak for yourself.
A living will (statement) and a medical power of attorney (durable power of attorney for health care) are types of advance directives. It can be difficult to know what to include in your advance directive if your form doesn't tell you what to address. Advance directives also allow patients to identify who they want to make decisions on their behalf when they are unable to do so on their own. There are two main elements in an advance directive: a living will and a durable power of attorney for health care.
If that's your situation, consider preparing an advance directive using forms for each state and also keep a copy at each location. Review your advance care planning decisions from time to time, such as every 10 years, if not more often. Advance directives also support continuity of care for patients as they transition between care settings, doctors, or healthcare teams. A POLST also indicates what advance directives you have created and who acts as your health care agent.
Advance care planning involves learning about the types of decisions to make, considering those decisions ahead of time, and then informing others about your preferences, both your family and your health care providers. You may want to make a card to carry in your wallet stating that you have an advance directive and where it is kept. Planning ahead can help people with Alzheimer's and their families clarify their wishes and make well-informed decisions about health care and financial arrangements. You can also prepare documents to express your wishes on a single medical topic or something that is not yet covered in your advance directive.
Talk to your healthcare provider (or lawyer) about how to fill out your advance directives when you're still healthy, if you get too sick, or can't make medical decisions for yourself in the future. Your doctor will fill out the form based on the contents of your advance directives, the discussions you have with your doctor about the likely course of your illness, and your treatment preferences. You should state in your advance directive what you want done if your doctor suggests it's time to turn it off.