It is easy to assume your family will step in if you are unable to make decisions concerning your health, but in reality, too few people carry on important conversations about end-of-life care.
It is important to document your end-of-life wishes through an advance directive to give your family guidance on what you want concerning medical care and intervention.
Purpose of an advance directive
This legal document articulates your desires concerning healthcare decisions if you lose your facilities or are unable to make medical treatment decisions. This document also names the individual to act as your healthcare agent, carry out your wishes or make important decisions regarding life-sustaining interventions.
Inclusions in an advance directive
For the most part, creating a directive provides a guideline for decision-making concerning medical treatments. There are some specifics to include that outline who is responsible for making decisions where you are unable to. These include:
- Name and contact information for the proxy or agent
- Names and signatures for those who witness as you sign the directive
- Signature and seal of a notary public
The state of California requires a special form for those creating an advance health care directive. On the form, individuals authorize which decisions the agent can make concerning interventions such as artificial nutrition, hydration or other health care. However, there is the ability to specify which interventions to withhold, provide stipulations concerning pain relief and draft other personal wishes.
An advance directive spares your family members from making challenging decisions concerning your end-of-life medical care. This document allows them to navigate your medical situation with more clarity and peace.