Compassionate Allies, Aggressive Advocates

The importance of a health care directive

Many people have a general idea in their minds about how they want to be treated as the end of their life approaches. Unfortunately, most of those people just take for granted that their loved ones will ensure that those desires are met. This is not always how it works since laws and the wishes of other family members could get in the way. That is why everyone in the state of Florida may want to look into having a health care directive.

When individuals are no longer able to speak for themselves about how they want their medical treatment and other aspects of their care to be undertaken, they often expect their loved ones to speak for them. Even if the family has the best intentions, this sometimes is not possible without a legal document providing authoritization to do so. For example, a person may not wish to be hooked up to machines or resuscitated, but the hospital's first priority is to save that person's life. Without a health care directive, the hospital cannot always honor those types of wishes.

A health care directive is a written and signed document which gives the maker the opportunity to make all of his or her wishes known while still able to communicate those wishes. This document also gives the person a chance to name a health care agent. The agent is a person who can make decisions about surgeries, medical care, end-of-life care, as well as choose doctors, care facilities and more. The designated individual would typically step in to make any medical decision that was not already covered in the health directive document.

Without a health care directive, a person's medical care decisions will often be made by complete strangers who have no idea what that person would have wanted. Because of this, it is important for anyone in the state of Florida to have one of these documents. An estate planning lawyer can help to draft the directive and go over any necessary aspects of a person's wishes for end-of-life care or for any type of medical care.

Source: messagemedia.com, "What matters most? Plan ahead for end-of-life care", Arlene Wheaton, April 19. 2017

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