4 things to Consider when Creating a Health Care Directive

Health Care

Having Health Care Directives is an important aspect of advanced planning for your loved one’s care. These documents can provide instructions on life-sustaining treatments, the withdrawal of life-sustaining treatments, and durable powers of attorney for health care. In some situations, these documents can change depending on your current circumstances. For example, you may decide that you no longer want to make decisions about your loved one receiving life-sustaining treatment if they are too sick to make such a decision themselves.

1. Life-sustaining treatment

Life-sustaining medical treatments are procedures that prolong life. However, patients can decline such treatments if they are not terminally ill or permanently unconscious. The use of a living will or health care directive can help the health care team make the appropriate decisions based on the patient’s preferences and values. These preferences can be based on the patient’s attitudes about illness, death and medical procedures. These directives are legally binding and can be appended to state statutory forms. Check out Washington State rules about directives to withhold or withdraw lifesaving measures.

When preparing an advance directive, patients should first discuss their wishes with the people they trust. These can include family members and friends. This helps them understand the wishes of the patient and can avoid conflicts or feelings of guilt. Also, it is wise to carry this document wherever you go and ensure your loved ones all have copies.

A physician order for life-sustaining treatment (POLST) is a legal document that can be used by hospitals, paramedics and residential care facilities.  Unlike a Health Care Directive, this document does not require another individual to make decisions about your end of life care.  It describes the specific care the patient would want during an emergency. The order is signed by a physician and is portable.

2. Living will

Living will is a type of advanced health care directive that specifies how medical care should be administered. It can include instructions on life-sustaining treatments. It may also address other issues such as blood transfusions and kidney dialysis. It is a legal document, so it must be followed carefully, which is why it’s a good idea to ask an attorney for help.  

A living will can be a simple statement or a detailed document. It’s important to talk about it with your family and other medical professionals. Then, make sure to tell those who are caring for you exactly what you want. By making a living will, you can make sure that your family and friends are aware of your wishes in the event of a medical emergency.

A living will is very important when you have a terminal illness, or if you’re near death. While you can still get treatment and medicines that keep you alive, it’s important to make your wishes clear. Using a living will allows you to specify who should be responsible for making medical decisions. You can also tell the hospital staff to refuse certain procedures, such as dialysis or ventilators.

3. Durable power of attorney for health care

Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care Directives allows you to name a person to make medical decisions for you when you are not able to. The document gives your Attorney-in-Fact the authority to sign consents, communicate with the care team, and make personal health care decisions. You can even give your loved one the power to refuse life-sustaining treatments, if desired.

Having an Advance Directive is a good way to protect your assets and get Medicaid benefits if necessary. Without it, medical providers will make decisions about your treatment, nutrition, and hydration. They will also make decisions about your end-of-life care. You may not want artificial hydration if you are in a coma, so this document is crucial.

4. Changes in advance directives

Advance directives for health care are documents that you can make when you are still able to make decisions for your own medical care. They are a legal and ethical requirement for medical professionals to follow. It is also important to review your advance directive periodically, especially if you have major changes in your health or family situation. You may also want to change the directive to reflect your current wishes.

Your advance directive can be general or specific. You can specify what type of medical care you would like to receive and how you want it to be delivered. In addition to describing your preferences, it can also include your wishes for organ donation. If you have any questions, consult with a doctor or family member.

Advance directives may be written, oral, or a statutory document. These documents state your wishes and appoint surrogates to make decisions on your behalf. The purpose of an advance directive is to ensure that medical staff abide by your wishes, and that they do not change based on a new diagnosis or treatment.

Our attorneys at The Narrows Law Group are here to help you create a comprehensive end of life plan. Please give us a call to speak to one of our attorneys today.