An advance medical directive serves as a legal document that provides specific instructions to health care professionals as to what they should do if you are in a coma, unable to communicate, seriously injured, terminally ill or in a vegetative state.
Because you simply are unable to make the decision, a health care directive clearly defines your personal choices that you had drawn up earlier. Thus, you remain in control. These documents provide the needed direction for doctors, caregivers as well as your family. At the same time, it eliminates any confusion and stress to family members, who may be struggling to decide what to do.
Durable power of attorney, living will
Doctors and loved ones simply refer to the advance medical directive in understanding your medical care preferences. This ensures that they follow your approved decision. You do not wish to have a scenario in which your family makes a medical decision that you would not have chosen. And the directive prevents conflict.
The two preferred types of advance medical directives include:
- Durable power of attorney regarding health care matters: This document allows you to choose a person to serve as a health-care proxy who is prepared to make medical decisions for you when you are unable to do so. As a result, health care professionals will not have to speak with others who do not know about your medical decisions.
- A living will: This document includes instructions on the medical treatments you desire as well as do not want should you become terminally ill or in a permanent vegetative state. This may cover matters such as resuscitation, dialysis and organ donation.
Having your decisions in place well before any malady strikes you provides peace of mind to everyone involved. You remain in charge of your life and its decisions even as it comes to an end.