Advanced Directives

While no one likes to think about it, an illness or injury may leave you unable to make important health care decisions for yourself. It is important to be prepared for that possibility and write down your wishes in an advanced directive so your wishes are known and honored. Advanced directives is a form where you can write down what type of care you want and who you want to make those decisions for you when you cannot make them for yourself. Advanced directives go by many different names including a Do Not Resuscitate Order, Health Care Power of Attorney and Patient Advocate Designation. It is a voluntary form, but it is helpful to health providers and others to know what treatments you would want and those you would not.

By completing an advanced directive, you are able to identify your wishes for treatments you do or do not want and you can identify the person you select as your Patient Advocate to carry out your wishes or to make decisions about your care when you cannot. The Patient Advocate becomes your spokesperson and advocates on treatments you can set out in the document. It should be someone you know well and will be willing to carry out your directions regardless of personal feelings or influence from family and friends. Advanced directives do not expire and should be reviewed periodically to make sure they still reflect your wishes. If you do complete an advanced directive you need to make sure you provide a copy to your health care providers, doctors and hospitals so they will have a copy on file.

Planning for medical decisions without knowing what issues might arise isn’t easy, but it is helpful for family members to know what your wishes are and will give your loved one peace of mind knowing they followed what you wanted or didn’t want for medical treatments.

For more information, call (313) 446-4444 or visit the following links for information and resources: