Monday, December 21, 2009

How to Understand Advance Directives for Healthcare

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Understand that advance directives for healthcare permit you to furnish instructions to healthcare providers and your family about your wishes concerning medical treatments in the event you become incapacitated. Most often these directives only go into effect when you cannot make and communicate your own healthcare wishes. Up until then, you can continue to give directions to your healthcare provider even though you have an advance directive.

Healthcare providers are required under the federal Patient Self Determination Act to provide patients information about their rights to make their own healthcare choices.

There are several advanced directives. They include a Living Will, which allows you to say whether you want treatment if it only makes the dying process longer; a Health Care Power of Attorney (HCPOA) that allows you to name someone to decide about your healthcare choices if you are not able to do so;
and Advance Health Care Directives, which combine a Living Will, an HCPOA and other state specific options.

Step 1Discuss your medical choices. Make sure the person you are considering as your agent understands what your wishes are concerning your healthcare.

Step 2Choose an agent. Understand that an agent is someone who will make medical decisions for you in case you are no longer able to do so. Make sure this person cares for you so he will carry out your wishes. You can limit his power if you so choose.

Step 3Understand that you should decide upon an alternate. This is a good idea because of situations where your first choice is unable to be your agent.

Step 4Make sure your doctor understands your advanced directives. Talk about your advance directives with your doctor before you sign it. Make any necessary changes.

Step 5Sign all of How to Understand Advance Directives for Healthcare