Planning for the end of life isn’t the easiest or most enjoyable task, but it is an important one that you should consider doing sooner rather than later. To help your loved ones in difficult times, there are certain steps you can take now that can help alleviate the burden of having to make tough medical decisions for you in the future. One of those steps is an Advance Directive.

What Is an Advance Directive?

Also referred to as a Healthcare Directive, this documentation includes your Living Will and your Healthcare Power of Attorney. In the event that you are to become incapacitated or otherwise unable to make major health decisions for yourself, an Advance Directive will give instructions for both your doctors and your family to follow.

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What Information Should You Include

When people think about advance directives, often the first thing that comes to mind is the Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order, an instruction put into place with your physician to let families know that a patient does not wish to have medical intervention if they stop breathing or if their heart stops pumping blood. If you choose to include a DNR order, that means the usual cardiopulmonary resuscitation will not be performed, regardless of the wishes of family members or even your Healthcare Attorney in fact(the person named in your Advance Directive who has the power of attorney to make decisions for you in unspecified medical situations).

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Along with Do Not Resuscitate forms, Advance Directives can also include your feelings about:

  • Nomination of a guardian
  • Do Not Intubate orders
  • Artificial fluids or nutrition
  • Dialysis for kidney failure.
  • Blood Transfusions
  • Major Surgery
  • Life support in the event of a coma
  • Treatment for incurable illness
  • Comfort Care
  • Organ or tissue donation wishes

Any additional information you would like to include about your preferred care at the end of life—things like whether you are comfortable living in a nursing home, where you would like to spend your final days of life, any concerns or fears about pain or familial burden, any religious or spiritual practices you want performed prior to your passing—can also be written into your Advance Directive.

How Do You Make it Official?

To ensure your Advance Directive is legally recognized, you’ll need to fill out your state’s official form, have it signed by two witnesses, and, if necessary, get it notarized.

If all of that sounds like a headache already, you don’t have to worry. Our experienced Michigan and Ohio attorneys are more than ready to help you through this difficult process. Contact us today at 419-843-6663 or reach out to us online for your free consultation.