When it comes to making healthcare decisions in advance, “It always seems too early, until it’s too late.”
National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD) is a week-long initiative intended to encourage adults of any age to plan ahead of a health crisis. This year’s event is April 16-22 and features different themes for each day of the week.
Making critical decisions before they’re needed in time of a medical emergency brings peace of mind to family members. Knowing someone’s wishes beforehand helps a family avoid the uncertainty of not knowing what life-sustaining treatment their loved one did or did not wish to receive.
AARP offers a list of downloadable advance directive forms for each state.
A living will allows you to state your healthcare wishes should you become terminally ill or permanently unconscious, unable to make your own decisions. Your doctor determines when your living will declaration comes into effect.
Power of attorney
A power of attorney is a legal document in which you identify a person you trust to make healthcare decisions on your behalf if you are unable to make them yourself. It’s important for your agent to have a clear understanding of your wishes and be willing to accept the responsibility of making these decisions.
The agent may not be a doctor; administrator of a nursing home in which you’re receiving care; or a person you are currently divorcing or from whom you are legally separated.
Write it up
Five Wishes is a legal document written in easy-to-understand language that lets adults express their wishes in the event they fall ill and are unable to speak for themselves. These documents speak to a person’s medical, personal, emotional and spiritual needs and are legally valid in most states.