We had some sad news the other day. One of our former clients, who had gone into hospice only two weeks ago, passed away. Luckily for her she had all her trust documents in place, including her Advanced Care Directive, so that her daughter knew exactly what medical decisions to make when her mother could no longer do that for herself. Preparing for the end of one’s life is never a pleasant topic, but it is one that must be discussed and should be planned for well ahead of time.
What is an Advanced Care Directive?
An Advanced Care Directive is made up of a Living Will and a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care. The Living Will segment allows you to inform your doctors who they should contact in the event of an accident, stroke, heart attack or when you can no longer make your own decisions. You can also designate which procedures you are willing to undergo and which, such as resuscitation, you would prefer not to have.
The Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care allows you to name the individual who will be your proxy if you cannot make a sound decision about your care. You can state when the document becomes effective, choose the individual who will carry out your wishes, define the life saving measures you do and do not want, and designate any organs or tissues that you would like to donate.
Once you have filled out the documents and have had them witnessed, make sure that your doctors, family members or friends have copies of them. You can find an Advanced Health Care Directive form for the State of California at https://oag.ca.gov.
Why is an Advanced Care Directive So Important?
No one knows what the future will bring. You can be perfectly healthy one moment and become immobilized in the next. If that occurs and you haven’t designated someone to represent your interests, what will happen? The hospital will have to find your next of kin (spouse, children or a sibling) to make that decision. The individual chosen may not be the one you would have picked to make your healthcare decisions, but there they are with that power, all because you didn’t file an Advanced Care Directive.
To download an Advanced Care Directive visit the National Institutes of Health National Institute of Aging website: https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/advance-care-planning-healthcare-directives.
At Luxe Homecare we provide exceptional homecare and home health care providers, depending on your loved one’s needs. We encourage our clients and their families to cover any of the bases we don’t, such as advanced care directives, do not resuscitate orders and hospice arrangements. To find out more about our services please contact us at (310) 454-5500, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit luxehomecare.com.