Instead of the usual “new year, new me,” we’re diving deeper into something we hope will last longer than a typical New Year’s resolution. While no one wants to think about being unable to make decisions, that’s exactly why this is important—the uncomfortable stuff usually is!
A healthcare directive allows you to put into writing the medical decisions you want, or those you do not want, should you end up in the unfortunate position where you can’t speak for yourself.
Examples of healthcare directives:
- Power of Attorney for healthcare and/or finance (POA)
- Living Will
- Do Not Resuscitate Order/Do Not Intubate Order (DNR)
- Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST)
- Organ and Tissue Donation
While the above documents tackle healthcare decisions, the most extensive way to make your wishes known for both medical and financial decision-making is through the living will process with an attorney. Once completed, a copy remains on file with them and is shared with your preferred healthcare provider and whomever you choose to act on your behalf.
If you prefer to complete something shorter and more basic without a cost associated, there’s another way. Hospitals and clinics typically have healthcare directives and witnesses available. Going to your medical appointment early or staying after can help you accomplish this process. Once complete, your medical provider can file your healthcare directive in their system for the future. Don’t forget to inform your loved ones that you completed these documents, especially if you’re naming one or more of them as your decision-maker.
What’s even better about completing the documentation at your preferred medical provider’s office is that you’ll complete recognized forms for your specific state. That’s not to say that the paperwork cannot transfer, but it’s advisable to have it completed in a new state if you move, just in case.
If you live in assisted living or a memory care community, it’s important to provide them with copies of your directive so that they know your wishes as well. If you have nothing in place, they’re also a great resource to help you find the documents that would best meet your needs.
The importance of a directive
Many people think that advance directives are for the elderly or for those who are terminally ill. Being conscientious and having a plan in place at any age can help you receive the care you truly want or don’t want should the unthinkable happen.
Do you wish to be kept alive by machines even if you’d never be able to regain consciousness or leave a healthcare facility? Would you want your organs to be donated to help others in need if you passed away? These are the types of scenarios where healthcare directives help to support your wishes.
If you become unable to make decisions without a decision-maker documented, sometimes the matter can go to your local court for a guardianship hearing should you be deemed “incapacitated.” In this event, if the court were unable to locate a trusted friend or relative to help you make choices, you could incur corporate guardianship fees for their services.
The best way to make your preferences known is by putting them in writing. If you’d like additional information on the forms or process for your state, click on the links below. We’ve provided a link for each of the seven states where Edgewood offers senior living solutions.