What is an Advance Directive? - Hospice Care Options

You want to be sure your wishes are honored when it comes to your medical care, but if you are unable to communicate your wishes, that can be hard. However, this is where an advance directive comes in. In this article, we’ll go over exactly what an advance directive is and how to complete one. 

What is an advance directive? 

An advance directive is a specific legal document outlining your preferences for medical care in the event you are not able to express your wishes. Advance directives are important documents, allowing you to have your wants respected and helping give you and your family members peace of mind. While advance directives are not required, they can help your medical team and loved ones know what you want in terms of ventilator treatment, hydration or nutrition, palliative care, pain management, and more. It’s important to note advance directives are only related to medical care, not financial matters. 

Who needs an advance directive? 

Advance directives are often recommended for people who are terminally ill, seriously injured, in the late stages of dementia, or near the end of their life. While these documents and issues are not things people like to bring up, they’re extremely important, and it’s better to do them sooner, rather than later. 

How do I complete an advance directive? 

While people often shy away from or put off completing legal documents like advance directives, thinking they’re too complicated, it’s actually a fairly simple process. Before completing the form, take a moment to research different types of advance directives and what sort of healthcare wishes you might want to include. Each person’s directive will look different based on what’s important to them. You can always talk to your doctor or other members of your healthcare team about any questions or concerns you have.

Once you’ve done your research, you can fill out an advance directive form, which can be found online or you can ask your healthcare team for one. Once you’ve completed the form, you’ll need to sign and date the form in front of a notary public. Then, share your advance directive with loved ones and your healthcare team and make sure they can easily access it. 

Hospice Care Options provides in home hospice services for people in need of end of life care as well as care and support for their families. Our hospice philosophy is to assist patients and their families bridge the gap with providers, and help our patients manage pain and navigate conversations with family. In addition to providing quality medical care, we also assist patients and their families with emotional support and spiritual guidance if requested. Hospice Care Options has locations in Eastman, Macon, Milledgeville, Ocilla, and Warner Robins and serves surrounding counties as well.

Primary Source: Cancer.org