Planning for a time when you become seriously ill or unable to articulate your wishes regarding your preferred medical treatment may not seem important if you are currently healthy, but taking these critical steps early on can ensure that your wishes are known and upheld when the time comes. Although it’s common to assume that we won’t become incapacitated until our final years, there are a number of unanticipated scenarios that can arise at any point. Preparing an advanced healthcare directive is a great way to understand the options available to you, should you become unable to express your wishes to your healthcare provider in the future. Let’s take a brief look at what information is typically included in your advanced healthcare directive in Washington state.
Withholding or Withdrawal of Treatment
The first section of your health care directive typically includes a section where you indicate what life-sustaining treatments you would like to have—or not have—if you are diagnosed with a terminal condition or if you are determined to be in a permanent state of unconsciousness. You may be asked to check off which types of treatments, such as artificial nutrition, hydration, respiration, CPR, blood transfusions, and other forms of intervention should be withdrawn or withheld from you in the event that one of these scenarios occur.
Articulating Your Health Care Values
As you prepare your advanced healthcare directive, you’ll usually be asked to document your wishes and preferences that should guide the decisions that are made on your behalf. For instance, you may express that you would prefer some type of pain relief, but that you’d also wish to keep your brain clear. Or, you may articulate your desire to spend your final days within the comfort of your home. By expressing your health care values in a clear way, you’re leaving instructions to your medical team and your loved ones to ensure that your wishes are carried out, even if you are no longer able to verbally communicate these preferences.
Recognizing Your Right to Revoke or Modify Your Health Care Directive
It’s important to understand that you are still allowed and able to make your own decisions about your health care as long as you are able to do so. The advanced healthcare directive simply affords you additional protections—it is there to document your wishes and guide healthcare decisions should you become unable to express your preferences for any number of reasons. You also have the right to modify or cancel your directive at any point. Many people revise or make changes to their advanced directives as they age and as their needs or preferences shift.
Want to learn more about the importance of creating an advanced health care directive in the Spokane Valley area? Reach out to the experienced and friendly legal team at Legacy Law Group by calling (509) 315-8087 today.