Advance Directives are legal documents that put end-of-life care requests in writing. Under the law, every competent adult has the right to formulate Advance Directives. Just as the name implies, requests and wishes are made in advance, and are carried out when a person has a terminal illness, and/or becomes incapacitated and is no longer able to make requests. Advance Directives are extremely helpful for family members and health care teams. Families and caregivers can have peace knowing they are honoring a loved one’s final wishes.
There are two main types of Advance Directives:
A living will – A living will provides written instructions about the type of care a person would like to receive (or decline) in the event they become unconscious or unable to make decisions.
A medical power of attorney – A medical power of attorney is a written document assigning a health care agent (usually a family member) to be in charge of making important medical decisions on a person’s behalf should they become incapable of making those decisions on their own.
It’s never too soon to start planning. It may be a difficult process, but many people have said they felt peace after expressing their final wishes in writing. For some inspiration on how to begin a conversation about end-of-life wishes, you can visit www.engagewithgrace.org.
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