If you’re working on your estate plan, one thing you’ll want to include in it is a health care directive. A health care directive is a simple legal document that tells others what you want to happen with your health care if you can’t make decisions for yourself. You can assign an agent to take over the role and have them make decisions on your behalf.
Developing a health care directive is a part of advance care planning that you should not overlook. After all, what someone else would do in your circumstances may be totally different from what you want. For example, if you suffer a traumatic brain injury that you’re unlikely to wake up from, would you want to have life support for a certain length of time? Would you want an order to tell the hospital not to resuscitate you if you pass away or go into cardiac arrest? Knowing what you want in those circumstances makes things easier for the health care provider as well as your loved ones because they don’t have to guess what you’d prefer.
Advance care planning is beneficial at any age. If a medical crisis puts you in a position where you’re too ill to make your own healthcare decisions, then you want to know that someone else will make sure your wishes are known. You should address the use of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), ventilation, artificial nutrition and hydration as well as comfort care in your health care directive so that the hospital and doctors you see know what you prefer. Your attorney can help you draw up a health care directive and choose the person you’d like to make sure your wishes are met.