A healthcare directive (HCD) is a written document that informs others of your healthcare wishes.
It consolidates the “living will” and healthcare power of attorney documents into one form for all your healthcare 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 healthcare wishes.
The HCD guides your physician, family and friends regarding your care at a time when you are not able to provide that information. It will help you get the exact care you want, particularly if you are near the end of your life and unable to express your wishes.
Your HCD may contain many health-related items, including:
- The name of the person you designate as your agent to make healthcare decisions for you or even joint agents;
- The name(s) of alternate agents in case the first agent is unavailable;
- Your goals, values and preferences about healthcare;
- The types of 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; and
- your funeral arrangements.
You may be as specific or general as you wish in your healthcare directive.
Your healthcare provider must follow your healthcare directive or your agent’s instructions, as long as your healthcare 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 healthcare directive is in effect until you change or revoke it.
If you are interested in learning more about Healthcare Directives, contact me for a free initial consultation and I will be happy to answer your questions.