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Advance Directives: Promoting Awareness on April 16

Planning For Care At End Of Life With Advance Directives

advance directives initiative via national healthcare decisions day

The Miller Elder Law Firm brings awareness to April 16, National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD) to inspire, educate and empower the public and providers about the importance of advance directives planning. NHDD is an initiative to encourage patients to express their wishes regarding healthcare and for providers and facilities to respect those wishes, whatever they may be. The theme for April 16, 2016 is “It Always Seems Too Early, Until It’s Too Late.”

A key goal of NHDD is to demystify healthcare decision-making and make the topic of advance directives and end of life planning inescapable. NHDD helps people understand that advance healthcare decision-making includes much more than living wills; it is a process that should focus first on conversation and choosing an agent via a healthcare power of attorney directive.

Advance Directives Defined

What kind of medical care would you want if you were too ill or hurt to express your wishes? Advance directives are legal documents that allow you to spell out your decisions about end of life care ahead of time. They give you a way to tell your wishes to family, friends, and health care professionals and to avoid confusion later on.

Living Will

A living will tells which treatments you want if you are dying or permanently unconscious. You can accept or refuse medical care. You might want to include instructions on:

  • The use of dialysis and breathing machines
  • If you want to be resuscitated if your breathing or heartbeat stops
  • Tube feeding
  • Organ or tissue donation

Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare

A durable power of attorney for health care is a document that names your health care proxy. Your proxy is someone you trust to make health decisions for you if you are unable to do so. This type of document is sometimes referred to as a health care proxy, appointment of a health care agent or durable power of attorney for health care. It is different from a regular durable power of attorney, which typically covers only financial matters.

For many people, it is very hard to start a discussion about end of life planning and advance directives.  You cannot wait until “the right time” because it never comes. You must set a timeline for the conversation–once it is a goal, you have a better chance of achieving it.  The amount of time, heartache, and potential strains on family relationships can be lessened by taking this one important step. Take it today.

How We Can Help

The Miller Elder Law Firm has helped many families with advance directives documents and end of life planning and we can help you navigate through this legal process.  These documents are available here.  Contact us at 352.379.1900 or complete the form below and we will contact you.

Information on NHDD is provided by the NHDD initiative and the National Institutes for Health.