What is an Advance Health Care Directive (AHCD)?

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On February 6, 2013, Posted by , In Home Care, By ,, , With Comments Off on What is an Advance Health Care Directive (AHCD)?

An Advance Health Care Directive (AHCD) is a generic term for a document that instructs others about your medical care should you be unable to make decisions on your own. It only becomes effective under the circumstances delineated in the document, and allows you to do either or both of the following:

  • Appoint a health care agent. The AHCD allows you to appoint a health care agent (also known as “Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care,” “Health Care Proxy,” or “attorney-in-fact”), who will have the legal authority to make health care decisions for you if you are no longer able to speak for yourself. This is typically a spouse, but can be another family member, close friend, or anyone else you feel will see that your wishes and expectations are met. The individual named will have authority to make decisions regarding artificial nutrition and hydration and any other measures that prolong life—or not.
  • Prepare instructions for health care. The AHCD allows you to make specific written instructions for your future health care in the event of any situation in which you can no longer speak for yourself. Otherwise known as a “Living Will,” it outlines your wishes about life-sustaining medical treatment if you are terminally ill or permanently unconscious, for example.

The Advance Health Care Directive provides a clear statement of wishes about your choice to prolong your life or to withhold or withdraw treatment. You can also choose to request relief from pain even if doing so hastens death. A standard advance directive form provides room to state additional wishes and directions and allows you to leave instructions about organ donations.

Advance Health Care Directives and living wills are not complicated, but the content can be complex and should be thought through very carefully. It can be short, simple statements about what you want done or not done if you can’t speak for yourself. It’s important to discuss your wishes with family members, legal, health or other appropriate professionals when preparing such a document. It is particularly important to talk with everyone who might be involved about your wishes because in times of stress, others may confuse their own wishes with your wishes.

Once you have completed your advance directive, it may be necessary to have it notarized depending on who witnesses your signature—follow the instructions on the document in accordance with your state laws. Providing many trusted individuals with copies of your advance directive will insure that your health care wishes are met in the event that you cannot express your wishes for yourself.

Keep the original copy of the Advance Health Care Directive yourself in a place that can easily be found, and give copies to:

  • Your chosen health care proxy (with directions on where to find the original).
  • Family members or other loved ones.
  • Your primary care physician, hospital, or health care institution. Ask that a copy is placed in your medical record and make sure your doctor will support your wishes.
  • Anyone named in the directive.

Be sure that you have discussed the directive with the person you designate as your health care agent and that he or she understands your wishes and the responsibilities involved.

Source:  http://www.helpguide.org

Contact Pure Home Care Services at (586) 293-2457 today!  If you live in Macomb or the surrounding area, we can help you care for your loved ones.

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