Advance directives are legal documents that allow people to communicate their decisions to health care providers so they know what kind of medical care he or she wants at the end of life. Advance directives communicates medical care to family and health care professionals in the event that they are unable to make those decisions themselves. The two main types of advance directives are living wills and a medical power of attorney.
Advance directives should be filled out while people are healthy and of sound mind. It allows them to think about what exactly they want and discuss with family members their wishes. You have the right to make decisions about your own treatment.
When diagnosed with a terminal illness or involved in a near fatal accident, people get scared and want to try every drug or treatment possible, even when the risks far outweigh the benefits. Making life decisions in a frantic state of mind is detrimental and elevates an already emotionally stressful situation. Choices about end-of-life care are difficult to make even when people are healthy. This is exactly the reason why such important decisions must be made while in a healthy state of mind.
The documents are easy to fill out and you may do so on your own. The following are just a few websites you may use as resources to aid you in completing the state appropriate forms.
www.caringinfo.org; www.americanbar.org; www.myhealthcarewishes.com
Death is a topic no one likes to discuss, but death is inevitable. Take time, pre-plan and give yourself peace of mind.
Trisha M. Pacenti RN,BSN