An Overview of Health Care Directives

A health care directive is a document that enables you tell loved ones and medical professionals alike about the kind of treatment you want in the event that you should not be able to express those desires for yourself. State laws will affect the names of these directives, but here is a general look at the different types of health care directives available anywhere.

Another name for a living will after all, is a "health care declaration". This is because it is nothing like a will or a living trust. This is a form that details instructions such as whether to take you off life support or not if you experience severe illness or injury. You can dictate the medical responses you would want taken in certain situations. Depending on the state where you live, this document could also be called a "directive to physicians" or a "medical directive". Regardless of the name, these papers should perform the same function.

Then there is durable power of attorney for health care. A shorter alternate name for this is "medical power of attorney". Other names for this document include "power of attorney for health care", "designation of surrogate", and "patient advocate designation". This is when you can name someone who will make choices for your medical treatment if you ever become incapacitated.

This person is often called your "attorney-in-fact" or your "agent". There are actually a lot of different names out there for this agent. Some of them include "health care proxy", "surrogate", and "patient advocate". He or she could also be called your "health care representative". A guardian or conservator usually refers to someone performing a different office, however.

At any rate, this agent can be invested with authority to see that the instructions in the living will are followed, and they can also have the ability to make decisions on your behalf. In states where both a living will and durable power of attorney are on the same form, the document is usually called an "advanced health care directive". This type of document is available in more than 33 percent of states, and surprisingly, there are really no other names for this paperwork.

There is another form called a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order. This tells emergency responders that you do not want cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) performed on you. This order can be created alongside other directives, and these are often created by someone who is already in dire medical condition. If you are hospitalized, you could still at that point request a doctor to put a DNR order onto your record. Otherwise, you could get a "pre-hospital DNR order". You could have this order on hand should you or someone else ever have to call paramedics to your residence.

Many states also have POLST forms available, which mean Physicians Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST) forms. This is paperwork where you can outline your requests for medical treatment in an emergency. This goes into more specifics than a DNR order can. This could, for instance, include your wishes when it comes to intubation, antibiotics, feeding tubes, and more.

Even while you may know what medical treatment you would want to receive in various circumstances, putting these wishes down into legal documents that can be accessed when needed and understood as you intended may require the counsel of a legal expert. You need to know that you are making the right steps for your future, that you have covered your legal bases. If you want to create a health care directive, you can learn further details when you contact a probate attorney from our site today!