Have you thought about the type of care and medical treatment you might
want should you ever become unable to make decisions or speak for yourself?
It’s hard for most of us to imagine this scenario, especially when
we are young and healthy. However, you never know when you may experience
a medical emergency. A car accident or sudden illness can leave you incapacitated
and in need of serious medical care. Advanced medical planning helps you
prepare for the unexpected while you are well and able to make difficult
decisions for yourself.
An Advanced Directive consists of legal documents that put your medical
wishes in writing and allows you to choose someone you trust to make healthcare
decisions for you. These documents offer peace of mind that, should the
unthinkable happen, you’ve made your wishes known.
Preparing an Advanced Directive is also an important gift to your loved
ones. They will rest easier knowing they are making medical decisions
based on what you do or do not want.
Documents your wishes for medical care should you ever be unable to speak
for yourself due to a serious illness or accident.
Examples of medical treatment:
- CPR (restarts heart if it stops)
- Breathing tube (mechanical ventilation)
- Kidney dialysis (if kidneys fail)
- Artificial hydration or nutrition
Different from Last Will & Testament, which directs how you wish to
distribute your assets and property upon your death.
Medical Power of Attorney
Gives a trusted person the legal power to make decisions on your behalf
if you cannot.
This person should be willing and able to advocate for you, even if they
disagree with your decisions. It could be a spouse, an adult child, a
parent, or a friend.
82% of people say it’s important to put their wishes in writing but
only 23% have done it
- Physician/Medical Order for Life-Sustaining Treatments (POLST or MOLST):
Additional info about treatment preferences for seriously ill patients
- Do Not Resuscitate (DNR): Don’t restore heart if it stops or beats
unevenly while you are in the hospital
- Do Not Intubate (DNI): No breathing machine if you cannot breath on your own
- Organ and Tissue Donation: Permission to donate organs if you die
Living Will and Medical Power Of Attorney (MPOA)
- Store documents in a safe but accessible place
- Discuss your wishes with your doctor
- Give a copy of your MPOA to your doctor
Advanced Directives wallet card
- Review documents periodically in case your wishes change