Myths about Advanced Directives

By The Care Centers.

When you are growing older and you start considering things like nursing homes, assisted living, or even the possibility of hospice, then it is absolutely vital that you have the proper advance directives. Advanced directives can be several different documents, including a living will and a medical power of attorney. Essentially, they are any legal documents that will tell others what to do if something should happen to you. That’s why you need them in place before you enter a nursing home. You need to make sure your wishes are carried out if you become incapacitated. 

The problem is, there is quite a bit of confusion about advanced directives and what they can or cannot do. As a result, some people have been fearful of having the documents drawn up. 

Myth #1: Treatment Will Only Be Stopped if I Have a Living Will

Some people don’t want to continue treatment when they are near the end of life. If you are one of these people, then keep in mind that you don’t technically need a living will for this to happen. However, your family members will be the ones making the decision and that could mean disputes and stress. By having a living will in place, everything will already be decided. 

Myth #2: An Advanced Directive Is Not Valid if the State Forms Aren’t Filled Out

Actually, the vast majority of states don’t even have forms. As long as you have the advanced directives written down or drawn up, then doctors are obligated to follow them. You don’t have to fill out any state forms to make them legally valid. 

Myth #3: Advanced Directives Are Always Legally Binding

That’s not necessarily true. If a doctor determines that something would be medically inappropriate or would go against their conscience as a caregiver, then they can choose to not follow your advanced directives. Essentially, the directive is designed to give your doctor protection from the family if they follow through with your wishes. 

Mtyth #4: An Advanced Directive Always Means Do Not Resuscitate

Again, that’s not the case. You can have your advanced directives drawn up to say what you want. For example, you could specifically say that you always want to be treated no matter what condition you are in or that you always want to be resuscitated until there is no choice or hope. The directive says what you want and it is up to you what information you write down. 

Again, advanced directives is a generic term that can cover a number of different documents, including living wills. If you would like to learn more about living wills, then read this article (Wills That You Need as You Age). If you would like to learn more about how to set up power of attorney for your medical decisions, then read this article (Four Questions You Need Answered about Power of Attorney). All of these documents are vital at any age, but essential when you become older and you choose to enter a nursing home. Make sure you communicate your wishes very clearly so that you can ensure everything is carried out how you would like now and in the future. 

Tags: Geriatric care