All you need to know about Advanced Health Care Directive
No one wants to face death, yet no one can escape it. What we can do is hope our own death is comfortable, peaceful, and meaningful for us and our loved ones. It’s important to plan ahead so that you can put your mind at ease and say those important goodbyes. By planning ahead, you can make the financial, legal and practical consequences of illness and death much easier for your family and loved ones to deal with. One document that will help you plan ahead is called an Advanced Health Care Directive (AHCD). It’s ideal for everyone over the age of 18 to have their own AHCD so their specific wishes can be carried out at a time of health decline or crisis.
An AHCD is a written document with instructions regarding your preferences for medical care, if you are unable to make decisions for yourself. It’s considered a legal document and must be either notarized or filled in, in front of two witnesses, and filed with your Primary Care Physician. Also known as Advance Directive, the document guides the choices your doctor or caregivers make regarding your health care treatment if you’re terminally ill, seriously injured, in a coma, in the late stages of dementia or near the end of life.
By creating an AHCD:
- You’re able to give detailed instructions about your healthcare wishes and how you want them implemented, i.e. specifying whether or not you want life-sustaining treatments or artificial nutrition and hydration.
- You can Designate a Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA) to:
- Relieve caregivers of decision-making burdens during moments of crisis or grief
- Help reduce confusion or disagreement about the choices you want
- You can also designate your own Primary Care provider to make decisions for you.
An AHCD template can be found easily online.
Helpful websites include:
Download ‘Choosing A Healthcare Agent’ PDF here.
Download ‘Advanced Health Care Directives FAQ’s for Consumers’ here.