What Are Advance Directives?

Estate Planning For Medical Decisions

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If nothing else, life is unexpected. In order to prepare for life’s unexpected moments, there are various estate planning methods that adults of all ages can implement. One of the most beneficial methods is creating advance directives that will ensure healthcare wishes are followed in the event that you are seriously injured, in a coma, have dementia, or are incapacitated in other ways.

At Goldberg & Associates, our team of estate planning attorneys is committed to providing expert legal advice and guidance when it comes to your estate planning and healthcare directives. If you need help planning for your future and want to protect your wishes, contact our Atlanta-based team to schedule a consultation.

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What to Include in Your Advance Healthcare Directives

  • Living Will
  • Power of Attorney
  • DNR
  • Physician Orders For Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST)
  • Organ and Tissue Donation

Advance Directives – What Are They?

Advance directives are essentially two legal documents that include a description of what your medical care wishes are. The documents provide instruction on how, when, and even where to provide care in the event that you are unable to make decisions on your own. The two documents are a living will and power of attorney. The living will can include a variety of documents that will give more specific instructions, and the power of attorney designates certain people who can make decisions on your behalf.

Living Will

This legal document contains information pertaining to the medical care that you wish to receive, or not to receive, if you are unable to make decisions on your own. There are several items to consider and include in your living will, such as:
Mechanical Ventilation: Ventilator machines help you breathe when you are unable to breathe on your own. A tube is inserted into the windpipe and forces air into the lungs, and patients are often sedated while on a ventilator because the tube is uncomfortable. Consider if you want this at all, under what circumstances, and how long you would be willing to be on the ventilator.

  • Tube Feeding: This involves a tube being inserted into the stomach which pumps food and nutrients into the body. Consider if, when, and for how long you want this type of treatment.
  • Comfort/Palliative Care: These are measures that can be taken to keep you comfortable if you are in a great deal of pain or discomfort. Measures include pain medication, if you wish to die at home, or receiving certain tests and treatments.
  • DNR: Do Not Resuscitate orders will prevent medical professionals from performing CPR if your breathing stops. While this certainly is a good idea to include in a living will, it’s also recommended that you tell your doctors your wishes when you are admitted into a hospital.
  • Physician Orders For Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST): This may also be known as Medical Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (MOLST). This form is used in the event of an emergency and provides quick access to EMTs and physicians to your healthcare wishes. It could include information about resuscitation, ventilation, pain management, and more.

Power of Attorney (POA)

There are several types of powers of attorney, but with an advance directive, you’re designating someone who will be able to make healthcare decisions on your behalf, also known as a healthcare proxy or a durable power of attorney for health care.

Selecting the right person for your healthcare POA is incredibly important. Some states have their own requirements for who can be a healthcare proxy, so make sure to look up your state’s requirements. The person cannot be your doctor or anyone who is a part of your medical team. They need to be willing to discuss your medical needs and wishes, can be trusted to make decisions that align with your wishes, and someone who will be an advocate for you if any disagreements arise.

Whoever you choose, they will be making decisions such as:

  • What hospital you are treated at
  • If certain surgeries are performed
  • Choices regarding home health care
  • Psychiatric treatment
  • Which doctors can provide treatment
  • What you eat
  • What medications are administered
  • And more

Partner With Goldberg & Associates For Your Healthcare Estate Planning

Creating advance directives can be a complicated process, and it involves many important decisions regarding your end-of-life care. If you need legal advice with your estate planning, the team at Goldberg & Associates is passionate about providing service that makes the process easier for you and your family. From designating powers of attorney to gathering important documents to creating beneficiary designations, we can provide guidance for every step of the journey.

Our team serves the greater Atlanta area, and we have three locations in Peachtree, Griffin, and Atlanta. You can trust that we’ll put your needs first. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

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