PUT IT IN WRITING
The Importance of Writing it Down
If you’re incapacitated at the end-of-life and unable to communicate with your doctors or loved ones, will they know your wishes for end-of-life care? Will they make the same decisions you would make for your care? You can ensure that your end-of-life care is handled the way you want it to be handled by putting your preferences in writing using advance directives. Advanced directives are documents that instruct your loved ones and medical caregivers how you would like your end-of-life care to be handled.
THREE TYPES OF DIRECTIVES
Living Will: A living will is a written document that indicates your desires for medical treatment if you can not communicate. For example, you would define in your living will if you would like to have your life sustained with a feeding tube or other forms of live support.
Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care: A durable power of attorney for health care is a written document that designates who you would like to make medical decisions for you if you can’t make them for yourself.
Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) Order: A do not resuscitate order is a written document that indicates whether you want to be resuscitated if your heart or breathing stops.
These directives are legal documents but do not require a lawyer’s assistance. Many examples are available online and these can be adapted for your particular situation.
Rules for advanced directives vary state-by-state. Be sure that your forms are designed for the requirements for your particular state. Forms pecific to your state can be found in bookstores and many office supply stores.
WHEN ARE DIRECTIVES USED?