Why is an Advance Directive Important?

Many people do not like to think about end-of-life issues because these issues are uncomfortable. This could be due to many reasons. Some people are afraid of death. Others are afraid of the unknown. Whatever the reason is, it is important to think about end-of-life issues and create a plan to help with the decision-making.

End-of-life issues govern what happens to our minds and our bodies when we are no longer capable of making decisions for ourselves. One of the most important issues surrounding end-of-life care is an advance directive. And advance directive has a number of legal and financial implications that people should consider before it is too late.

For people who do not know, an advance directive is a legally binding document that specifies decisions that are made on our behalf if we are no longer mentally capable of doing so. This includes what kind of invasive tests or treatments we are comfortable receiving if we are mentally incompetent of consenting to them in the moment. This also specifies who is going to take care of our bodies and make medical decisions if we are unable to decide these important facts for ourselves. Most importantly, it gives people the right to refuse medical treatment even if this might result in our death.

There are some people who would want every measure taken to try to preserve life under any circumstance. There are those who would refuse certain medical treatments if this meant receiving a low or painful quality of life. Most people remain somewhere in the middle. It is important that people make these expectations and decisions clear before they are mentally incapable of doing so. This is the crux of an advance directive.

Everyone should make sure they have an advance directive. To get an advance directive in place, it is important to sit down with a professional to document these decisions clearly. People need to specify who is going to make their medical decisions if they are unable to do so. People should also specify what kind of resuscitative measures they’re comfortable receiving. Some people would not want to be intubated to preserve their life. Some people would not want a feeding tube in place. Other people might not want the paddles used to restart their heart. Some people do not want any treatment at all. Sit down with a professional to make these decisions clear. 
Many people wonder what happens if their wishes change as they get older. These are documents that are able to be altered if the person is still mentally capable of doing so. It is vital people remember that an advance directive does not come into play until the person is mentally incapable of making these decisions for themselves. If they desire to change the instructions in the advanced directive, they only need to sit down with another professional to make alterations to the document. It is common that people’s wishes change as they grow older. Therefore, advanced directives are able to be changed over time.

Take the time to lay one out before winding up in the hospital.

Categories: Financial and Legal.

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