The Importance of Advance Directives

| By Meredith Ford

Advance directives are a planning document individuals can fill out regarding desired medical treatments at the end of life. By filling out your advance directive, you have the opportunity to designate the person you wish to speak for you and make medical decisions on your behalf in the event that you are unable to speak for yourself. You should choose an individual you trust to follow the treatment decisions you’ve identified in your advance directive.

Within your advance directive, you should identify the types of life-sustaining treatments you would want or not want. Five Wishes, an advance directive document, helps you to know what types of treatment you can choose or not choose. Life-support treatments include medical devices to help an individual breathe, artificial nutrition and hydration, and CPR. You can also specify information about where you want to be taken care of and how you want family members to treat you.

“Having a living will was associated with lower probability of dying in a hospital for nursing home residents and people living in the community.” (National Healthcare Decisions Day Facts)

By filling out your advance directives now, you are giving your family members and friends the knowledge they need to make the right decisions on your behalf later. Sometimes, advance directives can remove the family member or friend’s fear of making the “wrong choice” for a loved one.

National Healthcare Decisions Day is this week, Thursday, April 16, and it is a national initiative designed to educate communities about the importance of advance directives and encourage individuals to express their wishes regarding healthcare treatments. Join the movement this week and fill out/update your advance directives.

Request a free copy of the Five Wishes from Casa de la Luz Foundation today.

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