Health Care Directives

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Health Care Directives

"Do Not Resuscitate" and Other Types of Health Care Directives

Health care directives can help you obtain the care you would want if you cannot choose for yourself.

Health care directives can give you the opportunity to inform your doctor, other medical professionals, and more importantly, your family members about what type of health care you would want if you are unable to communicate your desires. If you are considering the following options, be mindful of the local and state laws in your jurisdiction. The names of these options can vary by region, as well as the options available within them.

Living Wills

A Living Will is also commonly known as a Health Care declaration. It is commonly mistaken for a conventional will and/or trust. A Living Will, however, has no relation to either. Both are utilized to appoint property at the event of a person’s passing. Living Wills determine what form of medical treatment you either want or don't want. This document comes into place if you are incapacitated and cannot make that decision yourself.

The main purpose of a Living Will is to ensure when you would like to be taken off or kept on life support. Keep in mind that the name of a Living Will can change depending on your local jurisdiction. You will likely find this option in the area where you can specify your medical care requests.

Power of Attorney for Health Care Purposes

Creating a strong and resilient Power of Attorney for healthcare reasons can really make a difference when deciding on your medical care if you are incapacitated. Drafting a Medical Power of Attorney allows a person you trust to make medical decisions on your behalf. This person is usually referred to as your attorney-in-fact or agent.

As your agent, this person now has the ability to carry out the requests you have set forth in your Health Care Declaration. He or she will also have the power to make other decisions about health care issues.

Be sure to check with your local jurisdiction. This document sometimes organizes both a Power of Attorney and a Health Care Declaration into one document form. If this is the case, this is often referred to as an Advance Health Care Directive.

If you are considering drafting a Power of Attorney for Health Care purposes, be sure to contact an experienced attorney who can lead you through the process. This will give you a better understanding of the local laws and forms you need to fill out. Further, an experienced legal professional could help ensure that your Power of Attorney for Health Care is durable and will be valid if it needs to be presented in a court of law.

A “Do Not Resuscitate” Order

In the event of a catastrophic medical emergency, a Do Not Resuscitate order alerts emergency officials and medically trained personnel that you have refused to receive CPR. Do Not Resuscitate orders can be made in addition to other health care directives. This is usually the case for a critically ill individual who feels strongly about life-lengthening treatments.

Usually, your physician or other medically trained professional can add a Do Not Resuscitate order to your medical record. This is done if you are checked in at a hospital. If you are not checked in, you may still request a Do Not Resuscitate order under what is known as a pre-hospital Do Not Resuscitate order. This document is kept locally in the event that you suffer a tragic medical emergency in your care facility or home and the paramedics are called.

Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment Forms

Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment forms are another method of controlling your medical emergencies. A Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment form is not permitted in every state, so be sure to check with a qualified estate planning attorney who can help you further understand the qualifications. Unlike a Do Not Resuscitate order, you can use a Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment form to give specific detail about what forms of medical procedures you would request to receive. You may use this form to declare your wishes in regard to feeding tubes and antibiotic use, for example.

Understanding the Type of Health Care Directive that is Right for You

Choosing the correct health care directive can be a complicated and stressful endeavor. If you are considering your options, speak to an attorney familiar with health care law. They can guide you through all the available options. Further, a qualified attorney will help you understand the varying terminology. Many of these terms can be confusing, leading you to stray away from selecting a beneficial health care directive option. Speak to an attorney who can assist you and make sure your requests are being conserved.


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