You may hear the term “Advance Directives” during discussions about healthcare or long-term care. But what are they? Advance healthcare directives include two types of legally recognized documents called a living will and a healthcare power of attorney.
These documents enable a competent adult, who is 18 years of age or older, to plan for and communicate his/her end-of-life care decisions in the event that he/she is unable to communicate them when needed. You do not need a lawyer to fill out advance directives, which essentially protect your right to decide what types of medical care you would or would not desire, in the event you lose the ability to make decisions yourself.
Throughout 2020, Lompoc Valley Medical Center is hosting seminars on Advance Healthcare Planning.
Presentation topics include:
- Understanding Advance Healthcare Planning and Advance Directive documents
- Considerations in choosing a healthcare agent to make decisions on one’s behalf
- Identifying values and goals regarding comfort and medical treatment choices
- Communicating end-of-life wishes to loved ones and healthcare providers
The sessions will be presented by Susannah Fenton, Senior Connection Program Manager for the Central Coast Commission for Senior Citizens, Area Agency on Agency.
Here are some other Advance Directive Facts you may want to know:
- They can be state specific and they never expire.
- They become legally valid once you sign them in front of the required witnesses.
- They should be reviewed periodically and updated if needed.
- If you complete a new advance directive, the previous one will be invalidated.
- Be sure to talk with your family, friends, and physicians about your advance directive.
- Ensure the person you appoint to make decisions on your behalf understands your wishes and what you consider to be an acceptable “quality of life.”
- Once the form is completed and signed, give copies to your appointed representative, alternate agents, your family, friends, health care providers and/or faith leaders so that the form is available in the event of an emergency.
- If you enter a nursing home or hospital, have photocopies of the document available in your medical records.
- You may also file your advance directive in California’s Advance Directive Registry: http://www.sos.ca.gov/registries/advance-health-care-directive-registry/
For more information on state-specific and step-by-step instructions for completing advance directives, visit caringinfo.org.