Do you need them?
What should they include?
Can I change my mind at any time?
Creating an advance directive is an important step in stating your end-of-life wishes. Also known as a living will, healthcare power of attorney, physician orders for life-sustaining treatment (POLST) and more. An advanced directive is a written statement intended to guide medical staff on how you wish to proceed with your care if you’re cognitively/mentally incapacitated or sustaining a life-threatening illness. Many people change these directives at different stages of their lives and situations. It is good to have an advance directive at any age, especially if you want your wishes to be followed, and not rely on what your family or friends would want for you, or think you might want.
The goal in writing this is to ensure that the people you love and trust are very clear on what you would want if you couldn’t speak for yourself. Even if your wishes are clearly stated, a family member or doctor could change the outcome of your advance directive simply by insisting that he or she knows best. Make sure everyone is clear. Remember, these decisions were made while you were of sound mind, and you expect your wishes to be honored.
FACTS ABOUT ADVANCE DIRECTIVES
☛ They allow you to control your medical care if you can not speak for yourself.
☛ They are free. No attorney is needed.
☛ Everyone over 18 years should have them, and you can update them as often as you would like.
☛ They are a responsible gift to give your loved ones, and takes the burden off of them.
☛ Speak with your doctor about advance directives
☛ Only about 26% of Americans have an advance directive!
Educate yourself on end-of-life medical care, such as resuscitation (DNR vs. CPR), etc. Discuss your advance directive with your doctor, and pick out an appropriate decision for your individual situation. Check with your doctor to ensure your medical record reflects your wishes. Make sure your advance directive is easy to find. Keep a copy at home; give copies to your healthcare surrogate, family members and friends, if necessary.