If you have ever had to make medical decisions for an incapacitated loved one, you know it can be a difficult and scary experience. After experiencing something like this, you may be motivated to prevent your own loved ones from having to make challenging decisions on your behalf. Fortunately, there is a way to protect your loved ones from having to make decisions about your medical or end-of-life care, and that’s to make an advanced healthcare directive.
Advanced healthcare directives are legal documents that describe which measures your care team should take to save your life or keep you comfortable in specific medical circumstances. In this article, we’ll go over a few key benefits that advanced healthcare directives can provide for you and your family.
- Communicates Your Wishes – Advanced healthcare directives are designed to clearly communicate your wishes for your medical care in case you become incapacitated due to illness or injury. In other words, if you become unable to communicate to your care team yourself, they can consult this document to see how to treat you.
- Prevent Unnecessary Discomfort – Another benefit of advanced healthcare directives is their ability to spare you unnecessary pain and discomfort. For instance, a family member forced to make medical decisions for you might want to attempt every possible solution to save your life, even if those steps are unlikely to help in the long term. Sometimes, these measures can just prolong your suffering without easing your symptoms. If you want to pass away peacefully in the event you become incapacitated, you should make an advanced healthcare directive to let your care providers know what kinds of treatments you don’t want.
- Spare Your Loved Ones Pain – Lastly, advanced healthcare directives allow you to protect your loved ones from emotional pain and guilt. Making decisions about someone else’s medical care is an excruciating experience, and one that is riddled with doubt and fear. If you want to spare your family that kind of pain, make sure to lay out your wishes ahead of time in an advanced care directive. While this won’t lessen the pain of losing you, it will make sure your loved ones don’t feel guilty or responsible for your passing.