An advance directive is a legal document that allows you to state your wishes about your future medical care in the event that you become unable to make decisions for yourself. It is a way to communicate your wishes to your family, friends, and healthcare providers so that they can make decisions that are in line with your values and preferences.
There are two main types of advance directives:
A living will is a document that states your wishes for end-of-life care, such as whether you want to be resuscitated, placed on life support, or given artificial nutrition and hydration.
A durable power of attorney for healthcare is a document that names someone you trust to make healthcare decisions for you if you are unable to make them yourself.
You can create your own advance directives or use a form provided by your state or healthcare provider. It is important to have your advance directives witnessed and notarized and to keep them in a safe place where your healthcare providers can find them.
Advance directives are an important part of advance care planning. By creating advance directives, you can ensure that your wishes are known and respected and that you receive the care that you want at the end of your life.
Here are some of the benefits of having and understanding advance directives:
You can communicate your wishes to your family, friends, and healthcare providers.
You can ensure that your wishes are respected, even if you are unable to communicate them yourself.
You can reduce stress and conflict for your loved ones.
You can save money on healthcare costs.
If you have not yet created advance directives, I encourage you to do so. It is a simple and important step that can help you ensure that you receive the care that you want at the end of your life.