Why Do I Need an Advanced Health Care Directive?
We often plan to live the best life we can based on our individual values and priorities. We rarely apply the same thought to our final chapters. The Advanced Health Care Directive (also called a living will) allows us to document our wishes and priorities for end-of-life care. This document is shared with your agent (the person who will be carrying out your wishes), your doctor, and the medical institution that may be treating you. Additionally, if your loved one is not your legal spouse or direct family member, the Advanced Health Care Directive allows them to take decisions on your behalf without hassles from the medical institution. By thinking and planning in advance, you can help to avoid conflict, regrets, and unnecessary medical expenses in your final days. It’s a difficult subject to think about, but both you and your loved ones will be grateful that you did should the need ever arise.
My Family Already Knows What I Want. Why Do I Need to Document It?
Relationships can change over time. You may be close to one person now but when the need arises to make medical decisions on your behalf, you may not be close to that person anymore. Life is full of unanticipated bumps in the road. Most of us don’t know when we may need emergency medical attention. A valid Advanced Health Care Directive also makes sure that your wishes are followed and relieves the burden on your loved ones from having to decipher what medical attention you would want in catastrophic situations.
Does Everyone Need to Know What My Preferences Are For End of Life Care? I Want My Desires to be Private.
Your Advanced Health Care Directive is a private document until it is needed. It is not a public document, unless you decide to share it. Should the need arise for your agent to make medical decisions on your behalf, this document will be shared with your medical team and medical institution. We recommend that you only inform your chosen primary and secondary agents that they have been so designated.