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What should you know about advanced directives?

Most people do not want to think about needing another person to make healthcare decisions for them. While you would not be alone in feeling this way, you need to think about your wishes when it comes to healthcare. To create a solid estate plan, you may need to think about advance directives.

According to American Cancer Directory, an advanced directive is a legal document instructing others of your medical wishes.

What is an advanced directive?

The Patient Self-Determination Act encourages you to decide the extent of medical care you want if you can no longer make those decisions. Hospitals, nurses, hospice programs and others have to inform patients of their rights to make decisions. The hospital should request an advance directive and uses the directive to honor your wishes. The document tells your doctor and other medical staff of your preferences.

For example, if you become incapacitated, a close relative may take control of your medical care. If he or she does not know your wishes, you cannot guarantee that you receive the care you want. For example, some people do not wish for resuscitation, whereas others do.

What should you include in your advanced directive?

When creating your advanced directive, think about the care you want. If you have any specific health conditions that you know could incapacitate you, talk about treatment for those illnesses or conditions. You should start your advanced directive when you have a sound mind and good health. You should include what you prefer for emergency care or accidents and also any specific actions.

All patients have every right to refuse different types of medical care.

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