Who writes an advanced directive?

There are two main elements in an advance directive: a living will and a durable power of attorney for health care. Emergency personnel, such as paramedics and emergency medical technicians (emergency medical technicians) cannot use advance directives, but they can use a POLST form. Review your advance care planning decisions from time to time, such as every 10 years, if not more often. Some states require that your advance directive be attested; some require that your signature be notarized.

Also, when you're ready to fill out your advance directives, your health care team may be able to help. You can also create a wallet-sized card that says you have advance directives, identifies your health care agent, and contains instructions on where to find your directive. If you store your advance directives in a registry and then make changes, you must replace the original with the updated version in the registry. These preferences are often included in an advance directive, a legal document that comes into effect only if you are incapacitated and unable to speak for yourself.

It's called an advance directive, and completing it is one of the best ways to ensure that your care preferences are respected. Because you may change your advance directives in the future, it's a good idea to keep track of who gets a copy. You can usually get advance directive forms from your state's bar association or from Caring Connection (part of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization). An advance directive allows you to give directions for these types of situations and then change them as you age or if your point of view changes.

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 should state in your advance directive what you want done if your doctor suggests it's time to turn it off. Every adult should have an advance directive explaining the type of medical care they want or don't want when they can't make their own decisions. If you don't have advance directives, decisions about your health care may be made by a family member or by a doctor or judge who doesn't know you.

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