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Health Care Directive

A health care directive (HCD) is a written document that informs others of your health care wishes.

It consolidates the “living will” and health care power of attorney documents into one form for all your health care instructions.

It allows you to name a person (or “agent”) to make decisions for you if you are unable to do so.

Anyone 18 or older, who is not incapacitated, can make a HCD.

The HCD is only used if you are unable to adequately communicate your health care wishes.

The HCD guides your treating medical professionals and loved ones regarding your care at a time when you are not able to do so. It will help you get the exact care you want, particularly if you are near the end of your life and cannot communicate your wishes.

According to the Minnesota Attorney General’s office, your HCD may contain many health-related items, including:

  • The name of the person or persons you designate as your agent(s) to make health care decisions for you
  • The name(s) of alternate agents in case the first agent is unavailable
  • Your goals, values and preferences about health care in general
  • The types of specific medical treatment you want or do not want
  • Where you want to receive care
  • Your goals regarding pain medications
  • Your desire to donate organs, tissues or other body parts
  • your funeral arrangements

You may be as specific or general as you wish in your health care directive.

Your health care provider must follow your health care directive or your agent’s instructions, as long as your health care requests fall within reasonable medical practice. However, you or your agent cannot request treatment that will be of no help to you, or that cannot practically or ethically be given by your provider.

Your health care directive is in effect until you change or revoke it.

If you are interested in learning more about health care directives, contact me online for a free initial consultation and I will be happy to answer your questions.