People who plan for care at the end of life are more likely to get the medical treatment they want, and their family members experience less stress, anxiety and depression, according to research. Preparing advance directives is one way to communicate your choices and help doctors and loved ones decide on your care.
At Hill Country Memorial, we have many experts available to answer your questions about advance directives and help you navigate the sometimes-difficult process of planning for your and your loved ones’ care.
These experts include professionals you may interact with if you or a loved one is ever admitted to the hospital: members of the case management team, chaplains from the pastoral care team or medical records department team members. Any of these personnel can help you understand how an advance directive works and how to fill out advance directive paperwork.
Preparing now is the best gift you can give your family. Arm yourself with answers and have the conversation today to ensure your peace of mind for the future.
What are advance health care directives?
They are legal documents that convey how you want to be cared for if you’re unable to make medical decisions or express your wishes. They list care instructions and describe under what conditions attempts to prolong life should be started or stopped. For example, you can list types of treatments you want or don’t want, such as feeding tubes, breathing machines, or being revived if your heart or breathing stops. Advance directives also convey who you’d like to make those decisions for you when you are no longer able to.
You can write your own advance directives or get help from an attorney. You can also revoke or change directives if your wishes change.
What should I do with my advance directive once I have outlined my wishes?
You, and the person you have designated to make health care decisions for you, should keep a copy of your advance directive. Give one copy to your primary care physician and one copy to HCM to have on file.
How do I designate someone to make my decisions?
An advance directive called a “medical power of attorney” or “durable power of attorney for health care” names an agent—sometimes referred to as a proxy—to make your health care decisions if you are incapacitated. Choose someone you trust and who is agreeable to the role. Consider naming a backup in case your first choice is unavailable when the need arises. Also, make sure family members know the choices you’ve made and who your agent is.
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