Posts Tagged ‘advance directive’

Advance Directive: What is it, and Why do I need one?

An Advance Directive (also called an Advance Medical Directive) is a binding legal document that helps to ensure that your wishes are carried our regarding your medical care. An Advance Directive is not a complicated document, however it provides your medical team with three key instructions:

 1. Appoints an agent to make health care decisions—In the modern era of health care privacy, HIPPA makes it very difficult to disclose medical information to anybody other than a patient. An Advance Directive allows you to appoint somebody you trust as your agent to make medical decisions on your behalf in the event that you are unable to make your own decisions. With an Advance Directive in place, your agent will have access to the medical information necessary to carry out your wishes. Your agent will only have access to HIPPA protected information in the circumstances you authorize in your Advance Directive.

2. Provides medical team with your instructions regarding desired medical care—An emergency situation can strike at any time. In some cases, you may be unable to discuss your medical care with the doctors in charge of treating you. For these situations, an Advance Medical Directive acts as your voice—instructing your medical team about lifesaving measures  (resuscitation, artificial nutrition, etc.) you would like to receive, and those which you prefer to forgo. It is important that you discuss your instructions with your health care agent so they can effectively assist the medical staff handling your care.

3.  Provides specific instructions for after your death—The death of a loved one is a difficult and stressful time, and unfortunately, many important decisions must be made quickly. With an Advance Directive, you can provide instructions to your agent on important topics such as organ donation, donation of your body, and funeral arrangements. You can provide very specific instructions regarding your funeral, or you can simply designate the person you would like to be responsible for making your funeral arrangements. By writing down your feelings on these very personal subjects, you will reduce the burden on your family in what can be an emotionally charged decision.

 An Advance Directive has serious and far-reaching implications. Although you do not need an attorney to create a valid Advance Directive, it is a good idea to consult with an attorney to fully understand all of your options. We here at Delaney & Keffler, LLC will take the time to fully explain and discuss your options so that you can have peace of mind that your Advance Directive will be your voice in these difficult situations. Contact us today at 410-535-3476 (FIRM) or for a free consultation.