Although it has always been important, certainly the Covid-19 pandemic has brought even more attention to having an Advance Health Care Directive in place. The purpose of this document is to ensure that your medical wishes will be respected, even if you lose the ability to make decisions for yourself.
The directive itself has two main parts. In the first part, you name the person or persons you would want to make health care decisions for you should you be unable to do so. This person is called a health care agent. When choosing a person to be your agent, it is vital to choose someone you trust to carry out your wishes. For most people, this means a spouse, child, family member, or close friend.
After naming them, you should also have a conversation with your prospective health care agents to explain your wishes, and to make them aware they might be asked to carry those wishes out. In our experience this helps both our client and the prospective agent. For our client, it helps to make sure there are no misunderstandings about what your wishes are. For the prospective agent, the clarity this conversation brings helps with the emotional impact of possibly making difficult health care decisions down the road.
The second part is where you outline your instructions for your health care. These are the wishes your agent will carry out if you are unable to make decisions for yourself. Although this list is not exhaustive, instructions in an advance health care directive include:
Once you have executed your Advance Health Care Directive, it is important you contact your health care provider to find out the most efficient way to make sure this document becomes part of your medical records. For most, this will mean uploading an electronic copy to your health care provider's website or dropping off a copy at your doctor's office. Whatever the method, this step helps ensure your health care providers know who to contact should there be a medical emergency.
Executing an Advance Health Care Directive, effectively communicating your health care wishes, and making sure it becomes part of your medical record, are all vital steps to make sure if there is ever a medical emergency, there is a plan in place to take care of you in the manner you desire.
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Roseville, CA 95661