What is an Advance Directive?


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Just popping in
Posts: 4
I'm only 25, but I was given an Advance Directive packet from the hospital where I delivered my baby. I've heard of them before, but I thought they were for the elderly. What is it and why do I need one?

Posted on 2001/3/28 9:24


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Quite a regular
From: Rowlett
Posts: 56
Thanks for your great question about Advance Directives!!! Advance Directives are legal forms that allow a person to explain, in advance, their wishes about medical care and how they would want technological interventions to be used on them in an emergency or when they are unable to speak for themselves. This generally relates to the purpose of Living Wills. A Healthcare Proxy Form such as durable power of attorney for healthcare, allows a person to designate another person to make healthcare decisions on their behalf. These forms are so important because they can help protect a person from unwanted "heroic measures" or treatment to be used against their wishes. These forms also help family members know what kind of treatment you might want in an emergency - which can greatly help to reduce family arguments about the "best" medical treatment for you.
Unfortunately, so few people in your age bracket - or even older folks - know about the need for advance directives and believe that somehow, if an emergency occurs, that things will just work out fine. However, we have all read or heard heartbreaking stories about people and their families who suffered greatly because they did not have these forms completed and shared with other family members, their doctors, etc. This is not to say that just because you have your advance directives completed that you are guranteed that your end-of-life wishes will be honored. However, if they are completed, if you have distributed copies to your family, your primary care physician, your hospital, and with as many appropriate others as possible, and possibly most importantly, if your have talked about your wishes and these forms with loved ones, then the chances are greater that you will have your wishes honored.
Please see our "Ethics and Law" page for more specific information about Advance Directives. Also, check out the website, Aging With Dignity, for information about their Living Will document called "Five Wishes." It is so terrific in that it details important considerations about medical care and helps others know what type of medical care you might want under various circumstances.
I sure hope that this helps clarify the need for Advance Directives . . . please let us know if we can answer any other question you may have about them or ANY other concern you may have.
By the way, I congratulate you on taking the "bull by the horns," so to speak, and finding out what advance directives are all about! Good for you!!!!! :smile:
Barb 4Hope

Posted on 2001/3/28 10:20

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