Advance Healthcare Directive
By nature, life is very unpredictable, and it is possible that something can happen to you at any given moment in time which will leave you incapacitated and incapable of making sound medical decisions for yourself. To prepare for the event of such a situation, you can draft an advance healthcare directive.
You can download the standard Utah Advance Health Care Directive by clicking here.
What is an Advance Healthcare Directive?
Simply put, an advance healthcare directive, otherwise known as a living will, personal directive, medical directive, or advance decision, is a legal document in which you specify what actions should be taken for your health if you are unable to make decisions for yourself due to illness or injury. There are four different types of advance directives that you can have, each of which function in a unique way.
A living will is one of the most common forms of advance directives. This document allows you to write what kinds of medical treatment you want in various situations. Additionally, it can also limit how much medical professionals are allowed to do before they must allow you to die.
Do Not Resuscitate
A Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) is another option of advance directive. This order instructs medical professionals to refrain from trying to resuscitate you by using emergency life-saving techniques. Generally, this is added to your medical record after you are admitted to a hospital.
Durable Power of Attorney
A durable power of attorney is also a very common form of advance directive. This appoints an individual to make medical and financial decisions for you in case you are unfit to do so yourself because of extenuating circumstances brought on by illness or injury. With a durable power of attorney, you are also able to sit down with whomever you appoint and direct them on how you want decisions to be made.
The final option for advance directive is the physician order, which is similar to a DNR, but is more specific. It allows you to instruct the physician on what exactly they can and cannot do for you, especially in regards to feeding tubes, ventilators, and injections. You may also limit how long these life saving devices may be used before giving up.
Why Do You Need an Advance Healthcare Directive?
Without an advance healthcare directive, situations may arise that render you incapable of making medical decisions for yourself. If this becomes the case, it then becomes difficult to give you the kind and level of treatment you desire. Moreover, it eases the decision-making of your loved ones, giving them a blueprint of what your wishes are so they can more surely know what it is that you want to be given in the event of your incapacitation.
Planning for a time when you might not be capable of making important medical decisions is absolutely crucial. Most hospitals and nursing homes have forms for advance directives available for you to fill out and use. However, as with all legal documents, it is most advisable to consult with a competent attorney so you can understand your rights and to tailor the various documents to fit your desires. This way, family members, courts and healthcare providers will have clear guidance on what care to give and for who makes the decision whether to continue or terminate care.
You should talk to your spouse and/or children about what they should do if you ever become incapacitated so that your family knows what your wishes are. This website provides additional information about health care planning.
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