1. Facility doctors may not discuss your health condition with family, without the proper documents in place.
Your physician at the hospital or nursing home may not be able to discuss your health with concerned family members due to rules of patient confidentiality. If you want to ensure that your loved ones will be part of the conversation about your health condition, treatment, medication and even life-or-death decisions, certain documents may need to be in place. An advance medical directive would include HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) authorization to ensure your family is not violating the HIPAA act in discussing your health with your doctor.
2. An advance medical directive lets you make the big, difficult decisions about end-of-life choices in advance.
For example, would you want your doctors to continue life-sustaining treatments if you have suffered irreversible damage to your mental functioning? An advance medical directive is a statement of your wishes for the kind of life-sustaining medical intervention you want- or don’t want- if you are no longer able to communicate your wishes.
Knowing your preferences in advance can be extremely important in helping your family through a time of crisis. These decisions are deeply personal, and an advance medical directive allows you to communicate instructions about your health care based on your personal beliefs and values.
3. Without an advance medical directive, a court may step in to appoint a guardian to make medical decisions on your behalf.
An advance medical directive ultimately allows you to choose someone who you trust to be in charge of your medical decisions, rather than a guardian appointed by a court. It’s important to choose your agent carefully. That person should be able to understand essential medical information regarding your treatment, handle the stress of making tough decisions, and keep your best interests and wishes in mind when making those decisions. When you’ve chosen the right person, make sure to communicate your beliefs, values and priorities when faced with the possibility of end-of-life decisions.
When you have an advance medical directive in place, you can rest assured that your important health care decision are in the right hands if a crisis hits. To learn more about how to set up an advance medical directive and other essential documents, please contact us for a free consultation.