Thank you to Business Office Manager, Lexie Bosh, for putting together this information…
A health care directive is a written, legal document that informs medical professionals of your wishes about your health care. It allows you to name a person (“agent”) to decide for you if you are unable to decide. It also allows you to name an agent if you want someone else to decide for you.
A common misconception is that a Health Care Directive is the same thing as a living will or health care power of attorney. A living will can only be used in situations in which an individual has a terminal condition. Health Care Power of attorney only designates an individual to make health care decisions if you are unable. 1998, the State of Minnesota combined these two documents to make the Health care Directive. This document includes further information such as intubation preferences, comfort measures you wish to use, and even burial and funeral home arrangements.
Many legal professionals suggest that individuals contact them rather than searching out fillable forms online. Despite the convenience of these fillable forms, it does not take into account that everyone’s situation is very different from one another.
Here are a few tips that legal experts suggest:
- When selecting an agent, keep in mind that your spouse or eldest child may not be the most suitable option. The Health Care Agent is going to be responsible for carrying out your medical decisions and if that person may find that to be a difficult position, choose a different agent.
- Update your Health Care Directive every 4 to 5 years. Your medical history is constantly changing and your health care decisions may have a significant change on how you would treat a condition or disease.
- These documents are only applicable when an individual is alive. Once a person passes away, this document no longer gives authority to individuals to make decisions (unless explicitly stated within the Health Care Directive).
- Once you have drafted your Health Care Directive, make sure to provide a copy to your medical professionals (i.e. primary physician, dentist, etc), health care institutions, and the named agent. Technology also allows you to carry an electronic copy of your documents with you whenever you travel. Ask your legal experts about the best ways to store and distribute these documents.
We were fortunate enough to have Sanford Health here at River Pointe to inform our residents about the importance of a Health Care Directive. We encourage everyone, of all ages, to complete this document. This is not only a way to have your medical wishes known and carried out, but it also empowers your family with guidance on how to ensure your decisions are respected when the time come.Free 2018 Health Care Directive seminar
If you are looking for additional information regarding Health Care Directives before then, check out the links below:
State of Minnesota: http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/fpc/profinfo/advdir.htm
Find a legal professional http://lawyers.findlaw.com/lawyer/practicestate/estate-planning/minnesota
MN Legal Aid http://mylegalaid.org/get-help/