What Exactly Is An Advance Directive?
A Living Will is a type of advance directive. Any kind of advance directive is a set of legal instructions that clarify the type of medical care you would prefer, in the event of a situation in which you cannot make decisions for yourself. If you are medically capacitated in any way — in a coma, unable to communicate, with a terminal illness, or with advanced dementia — these legal instructions will let medical professionals know what you would prefer them to do.
Any and all adults should have advance directives in place, not just older adults. An automobile accident or some other surprising event can happen at any time, and medical personnel need to do what you would request of them, if you cannot tell them yourself.
In some cases, people have been comatose or in a persistent vegetative state at a relatively young age. Since these young people did not have advance directive documents in place, they were kept on life support for years after they were pronounced “brain-dead” in the hospital.
How Long Does It Take To Create Advance Directives?
An advance directive does not take long to complete, and this preparatory step can ensure that you receive the type of consideration you prefer. This directive also relieves your loved ones from needing to make these decisions on your behalf, without your input.
You should name a medical power of attorney, otherwise known as a health care power of attorney. This legal document may also be called a health care proxy or a durable power of attorney for health care.
Even if you have an advance directive in place, or are preparing one, you should also name a power of attorney. Having a person in a formalized position to advocate for you can save tremendous stress. You do not want this person to be a doctor, or on your medical care team. You also want to choose a person who will make decisions in accordance with your beliefs and preferences. A power of attorney should also be someone who can handle disagreements calmly, as other family members may object to a decision. Your state may have requirements for the power of attorney — what this person must meet in terms of age, for example — so you should consult such requirements before making your decision.
Crafting An Advance Directive
Here are some of the decisions that you may address in your advance directive.
- Do you want to donate your body for scientific study?
- Do you want the medical professionals to administer pain relief? And specifically, do you want to avoid opioids or specific types of pain-related medication?
- If you are nearing the end of your life, do you want doctors to treat your infections with antibiotics, or would you rather have infections proceed without aggressive treatment?
- What kind of palliative care would you want? This includes being fed ice chips to alleviate dry mouth, being allowed to die at home or in hospice, and other pain-related comfort care questions.
- If your kidneys fail while you are unable to communicate, do you want dialysis?
- If your heart stops beating, do you want medics to perform CPR?
- If your lungs stop ventilating, would you want to be placed on a mechanical ventilator?
- If you are unable to eat, would you prefer intravenous fluid injections, or to have a feeding tube put into your stomach?
- Do you want to donate organs or tissue for other people in need before you die? (Doing so may require keeping you alive long enough to remove the organs surgically and effectively.)
Assistance With Advance Directives In Cincinnati
If you are looking for an experience attorney to assist you with your advance directives, Living Will, or if you have any Estate Planning needs, CONTACT Donnellon, Donnellon and Miller today.