Without naming a trusted agent through an advanced health care directive, you may not receive the medical treatment of your choice. Your spouse or adult children may have the responsibility of making end-of-life decisions in the event of your illness or incapacitation.
Communicating with your doctors during a sudden accident or serious illness may place unintended and overwhelming stress on your family. A well-written advanced health care directive, however, provides detailed written instructions for your agent to follow. Your agent may then inform your physicians, nurses, and medical staff regarding what medical procedures to include or avoid in your care.
What types of instructions may I include in an advanced health care directive?
You may provide your agent and medical professionals with your wishes for carrying out treatment. As reported by Kiplinger magazine, you may proactively approve, refuse and deny specific options available for your care.
For example, if you prefer to forgo invasive surgical procedures, your advanced health care directive may state this. Your directives could also address receiving or avoiding certain pain relief and other medications to conform with your personal beliefs. Some individuals may require assisted living arrangements; your advanced health care directive may instruct your chosen agent regarding your admittance to an appropriate facility.
What if my family does not agree with my wishes?
Family members may become overprotective when a loved one reaches the end of his or her life. A relative or an adult child may develop a different opinion regarding your preferred treatment methods. You may grant your agent the authority to override your directives if he or she knows your wishes are different than those provided for in your directive. You may also required your agent to follow your directives. Your chosen and trusted agent, however, must follow your expressed wishes.