Expressing Your Healthcare Wishes
The thought of preparing for after you're gone can be intimidating and scary, but it doesn't have to be. Planning for these events will ensure legalities are in place to take care of your spouse, children, and assets. At the Martens & Brusseau Law Corporation, we help families plan their estate and emphasize the importance of considering a health care directive. Having one will make things less stressful for you and your loved ones should you become ill or sustain a serious injury.
To discuss your options during a free consultation, contact our Visalia health care directive lawyers at (559) 622-8640.
Types of Health Care Directives
There are a few different types of health care directives to consider. The variances will determine who you can appoint to make decisions for you, what types of treatment you may request or deny, and how you can or cannot change or revoke your health care directive.
The various kinds of directives include:
- Living Will: A living will is a legal declaration of your healthcare wishes without appointing a power of attorney.
- Advanced Health Care Directive: An advanced health care directive is the combination of a living will and a power of attorney, where you appoint someone to make decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated.
- Health Care Agent: Also known as a patient advocate or health care representative, this is the person you choose in power of attorney. You may add in specific details about what this person can and cannot do should you be unable to make decisions for yourself. A health care agent must be 18 years or older and exclude the following:
- Your conservator
- Someone employed in a health care facility where you are seeking treatment
- Your physician, unless they are also your spouse or blood relative
- "Do Not Resuscitate" Order: Also known as a DNR, the do not resuscitate order is an option you have when you do not want to receive cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). This is a supplement to your living will or health care directive. While the DNR is often put in place by patients who are already ill and able to decide that they do not want to receive further treatment should they become unconscious, you can decide to add this at any point in time. Consider a DNR if you are unable to recover from illness or injury, or if your chances of living a fulfilled life feel diminished.
- Physicians Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment: Also known as a POLST, this document is utilized when more in-depth instructions for healthcare preferences and wishes need to be detailed. This can be anything from medication, intubation, hydration, and nutrition methods and preferences.
Helping Choose an Order
Establishing a health care directive is a very personal and difficult decision. Often when a DNR is added, one or more physicians may be asked to give written consent that they will carry out your wishes. In most scenarios, if you would like to cancel or change a directive, it needs to be done in a written statement signed and dated by yourself and witnesses.