Patient Referral

What is an Advance Directive? How to Complete Advance Directive

complete an advance directive

An advance directive is a legal document that outlines your preferences for medical treatment in the event that you are unable to communicate your wishes. It is a critical document that ensures that your wishes are respected, and it can provide peace of mind for both you and your loved ones.

Why is an Advance Directive Important?

Without an advance directive, healthcare providers may be forced to make decisions about your care without understanding your wishes, which can lead to confusion, conflict, and unnecessary medical interventions.

By completing an advance directive, you can ensure that your wishes for medical treatment are respected, even if you are unable to communicate them. This can include decisions about end-of-life care, such as whether you want to receive life-sustaining treatments like a ventilator or artificial hydration and nutrition. It can also include decisions about palliative care, pain management, and other treatments that can improve your quality of life. An advance directive is an important tool for maintaining control over your healthcare decisions and ensuring that your wishes are honored.

advance directive

How to Complete an Advance Directive

Completing an advance directive can seem like a daunting task, but it is actually quite straightforward. Here are some steps that you can follow to understand how to complete an advance directive:

  1. Learn about the different types of advance directives. The two most common types of advance directives are a living will and a durable power of attorney for healthcare. A living will outlines your wishes for medical treatment in specific situations, while a durable power of attorney for healthcare designates a trusted person to make healthcare decisions on your behalf.
  2. Think about your healthcare wishes. Consider the medical treatments you would like to receive or refuse in different situations, such as if you were in a coma or had a terminal illness. It's important to be specific and clear about your wishes.
  3. Choose a trusted person to be your healthcare agent. If you choose to complete a durable power of attorney for healthcare, you will need to designate a trusted person to make medical decisions on your behalf. This person should be someone who understands your values and wishes and who you trust to make decisions in your best interest.
  4. Fill out the form. Once you have thought through your wishes and designated a healthcare agent (if applicable), you can fill out the advance directive form. These forms are typically available online or through your healthcare provider.
  5. Sign and date the form. After completing the form, you will need to sign and date it in the presence of witnesses or a notary public, depending on your state's requirements.
  6. Share your advance directive with loved ones and healthcare providers. Make sure that your loved ones and healthcare providers know about your advance directive and where to find it.

Completing an advance directive may seem like a difficult task, but it is an important part of planning for the future. By taking the time to think through your wishes and designate a healthcare agent, you can ensure that your medical treatment aligns with your values and preferences.

Crossroads Hospice & Palliative Care provides care and support to patients with advanced illness. To learn more about our services, please call us at 1-888-564-3405.


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