What are Advance Directives and Why Do They Matter?

By Roz Jones

What are Advance Directives?

Advance directives are legal documents that specify a person’s healthcare wishes in case they are unable to make decisions for themselves. These documents can include living wills, durable power of attorney for healthcare, and do-not-resuscitate orders. There are different types of advance directives. Look for the one that meets your client’s needs best. Always choose the best type of advance directive for their specific situation. As this is a sensitive matter to discuss, ensure that you apply emotional intelligence. Explaining the benefits of advance directives will also make things a lot easier for everyone.

The Importance of Advance Directives for Individuals and their families

Advance directives are important for individuals and their families for several reasons. First and foremost, they ensure that a person’s healthcare wishes are respected and followed, even if they are unable to communicate or make decisions for themselves. This can provide peace of mind for both the individual and their loved ones during difficult and emotional times.

Without advance directives, family members may be left to make decisions about a person’s healthcare without knowing their wishes. This can lead to disagreements and confusion among family members, as well as potentially unnecessary medical procedures or treatments.

Statistics on the percentage of Americans with Advance Directives

Despite the importance of advance directives, only about one-third of Americans have them in place. This can be due to a lack of awareness or understanding of what advance directives are and how they work.

Resources for Creating Advance Directives

Fortunately, there are resources available to help individuals create advance directives. Healthcare providers, attorneys, and online resources can all assist in the creation of these important documents.

Online Resources:

  1. National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO): NHPCO offers free resources for creating advance directives, including state-specific advance directive forms and a guide to advance care planning.
  1. AARP: AARP offers free advance directive forms for all 50 states, as well as guidance on how to complete them.
  1. MyDirectives: MyDirectives is a free online platform that allows users to create and store advance directives in a secure digital format. Users can also share their directives with their healthcare providers and loved ones.
  1. Five Wishes: Five Wishes is an online advance directive platform that offers a user-friendly interface and guidance on how to complete the document. The platform also offers a free PDF version of the document.
  1. LegalZoom: LegalZoom offers advance directive forms for all 50 states for a fee. The platform also provides legal guidance and support for completing the forms.

It’s important to note that while these resources can be helpful for creating advance directives, it’s still recommended to consult with a healthcare provider or attorney to ensure that the documents are completed properly and accurately reflect a person’s wishes.

Advance directives are crucial for individuals and their families to ensure that their healthcare wishes are respected and followed. With proper awareness and resources, more people can take control of their healthcare decisions and have peace of mind during challenging times. Find out ways to talk about advance directives that will be more comforting.

Secure Your Loved One’s Future & Protect Their Health by Purchasing the Caregiving & Advance Health Directives Checklist!

When creating an Advance Directive, it’s important for you to identify the treatments you want and don’t want at the end of life. In order to begin this process, you will need to complete state-specific forms. This worksheet can prepare you for those decisions you’re going to make on those forms, and for conversations you need to have with family and doctors.

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