Advanced Directive is a general term used to describe both the Healthcare Directive and the Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare Decisions. It is a term also used to refer to living wills and informal directives that people may express in letters or conversations.
An advanced directive allows you to communicate your healthcare preferences after you have lost the capacity to make or communicate your own decisions. Since 1991, the U.S. Supreme Court has recognized that all adults with decision-making capacity have a constitutional right to refuse or consent to any medical treatment, including ventilators and feeding tubes. Further, state laws authorize you to name a person to make healthcare decisions for you when you cannot make them yourself.
Advanced directives are intended to ensure that your wishes will be known and followed. They will be more helpful and informative if you discuss your wishes with your family, friends and healthcare providers as part of your advance care planning. These documents only become effective whey you can no longer make or communicate your decisions yourself.
The greatest benefits of your advanced directive are its power to communicate your wishes and give your family peace of mind. Discuss your advanced directive with your doctor. Other individuals you should share this information with include family, friends, clergy, your attorney, and others who may carry out your wishes.
For more information on Advanced Directives please contact Helen Dannenberg, SSD at 785-346-2121.