An advance medical directive is a document in which you can outline what type of medical care you want, and don’t want, in case you are incapacitated in some way and cannot speak for yourself. You may think this type of document is solely needed by the elderly or the very sick. The reality is every adult should have a health care power of attorney (another name for advanced medical directive), given the unpredictable nature of our lives.
An advance medical directive gives us some control if something unfortunate happens to render you incapable of making health decisions on your own. If you are married, your spouse may make some medical decisions for you. However, if you have instructions in the directive, it will reduce the stress for family members or others interfering with the care and treatment you desire.
A common misconception associated with advance medical directives, is they are only needed by the frail, chronically or terminally ill. If you’re traveling I-295, hit by a tractor trailor and severely injured, do any of your close family members know what type of treatments you may or may not want? Is there someone in particular you would trust to make these decisions for you? Have you ever discussed this with anyone?
It’s a heavy burden to make medical decisions for a person who can’t speak for themselves. These could be life-changing decisions, possibly involving several people. Do yourself and your family a favor and execute an advance medical directive. Alleviate them of the burden and provide a solution before an unfortunate event occurs.
An advance medical directive is like most planning documents in that it can provide guidance, reduce stress among family members, and prevent litigation. It not only allows you some control over your healthcare, it eases a possibly large burden off your loved ones if the unexpected happens. By thinking ahead and taking action, you can make a very bad situation easier for all those involved.
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