Healthcare Advance Directives

By The Care Centers.

If you read this article, then you already know a little about advanced directives and how there are two different types, including financial and healthcare. Now, it is time to consider the healthcare form in detail because this is a very important set of documents to have completed and updated before you move into a nursing home. These documents will tell medical professionals what they should do if something happens to you. Additionally, they can give someone else the legal power to make decisions about your health and medical treatments if you cannot. So, let’s discuss four things you need to know about healthcare advance directives so that you can get these things handled properly. 

There Are Two Types

There are two documents that fall under the category of healthcare advance directives. These include the living will and medical power of attorney. 

  • Power of attorney means you give someone else the power to make decisions about your healthcare if you are incapacitated. A durable power of attorney is the best choice because it will stay in place now and throughout the future. 
  • A living will describes a variety of different medical scenarios and how you would want to be treated if you cannot speak for yourself. 

As you can see, these are both very good documents to have on hand when you enter an assisted living facility, and especially, if you will be facing a stay at hospice. 

Your Doctor Has to Verify Certain Things

If you have a living will, then your doctor will need to verify three different things before following what that advance directive has to say. These three things include: 

  • That you cannot make medical decisions for yourself
  • That your medical condition meets the state living will law 
  • That any other state laws apply

Essentially, it is important that all of these things are kept in mind before a physician will follow anything you have listed in your advance directive. 

It’s a Guide, Not the Law

Living wills are essentially just guides, and that’s something many people misunderstand. They protect the physician who can follow through with your wishes without risking a lawsuit. If the physician, for any reason, believes that the contents of the living will go against their ethical requirements as a medical caregiver, they can disregard what the living will states. 

Each State Has Different Laws

You will need to find out more about the laws for advance directives in your own state before having the document drawn up. While some things may remain the same, there could be certain guidelines or rules that must be met in living wills or even in medical powers of attorney. The best decision you could make is to hire an attorney who has experience with estate planning and these types of documents so that you can make sure everything is done properly. 

Find out more about health care directives by reading this article (Four Myths about Advance Directives) and learn about living wills (Wills That You Need as You Age) by reading this article. These are important documents to have when you enter a nursing home or any type of assisted living facility. 


Tags: Geriatric care