What are Advanced Directives and Why are they so Important?
While it’s only human nature to want to avoid thinking about unpleasant subjects, it’s important to consider what would happen if you became unable to make decisions for yourself due to incapacity or illness. And this can happen in an instant.
An advance directive tells your doctor and caregivers what kind of care you would like to receive – even if you become unable to speak or make medical decisions for yourself. If that should happen to you, life will be easier for everyone if you’ve previously chosen someone to speak on your behalf and have expressed clear wishes about your care.
These official documents outline your wishes regarding life support, resuscitation and other interventions for both your health care team and family members. Whether on the spot tragedy or a debilitating illness, having your Directives in place can be a Blessing. You can be clear and thinking on point one day, and the next moment you aren't. Your family may know what you wanted but it doesn't matter. Hospitals use the DEFAULT measure in implementing all processes and procedures even when they know it may not work. You need to think smartly, think ahead.
Aging is inevitable, Advanced Dementia and Alzheimer's is the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S. for people over 65. One day you are fine, the next you are unable to clearly communicate. Have this prepared in advance, life is ever changing. Don't let Doctors or arguing family members make your decision for you, write it down, you have a voice now. This is one of the best gifts you can give your family so they don't have to disagree in making these decisions, you already did.
Important Questions and Facts
When should I make my advance directive?
Some people make advance directives when they are diagnosed with a life-threatening illness; others put their wishes in writing while they are still young and healthy. Anyone over the age of 18 should have these in place.
How does it help my loved one?
Too often, when loved ones are left guessing what should be done, the result is guilt, uncertainty and arguments. By making your wishes known, you can help your family feel more comfortable with your choice of care. There is no arguing or confusion on how you would like your wishes carried out.
What are Advanced Directives?
Advanced Directives consist of both a Living Will and a Health Care Proxy. Both forms can be changed at any time, and it’s a good idea to update them periodically as you grow through different chapters in your life. In our package, we include the "Five Wishes" form valid in 48 states and a DNR as well. These are all very important documents to have completed for both young and old. There are so many details that we wouldn't usually think of, I review these with you, step by step.
What is a Living Will?
A living will tells your medical team and your family what treatments you want to receive or refuse, and under which conditions. Your physician and your health care proxy are required to follow all directives in a living will.
A living will is enacted only when your attending physician and a consulting physician determine that you’re:
1. Unable to make your own medical decisions and are unlikely to regain this ability;
2. In a terminal persistent vegetative state, an end-stage condition, or in any other condition that you specified in your living will.
Is a Living Will the same as a DNR?
No. A Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order is a separate document stating that you do not wish to be resuscitated in the event of cardiac or respiratory arrest. You must discuss your desire for a DNR with the attending physician so the order can be entered into your medical record. The DNR form has to be completed by you and your physician to be valid.
Designation of a Health Care Proxy
The designation of health care proxy allows you to appoint someone to make decisions on your behalf when you’re unable to. It’s different than a regular durable power of attorney, which only covers financial matters. Also, it’s best if you appoint someone who knows your wishes and is willing and able to carry them out, especially regarding your personal, spiritual, moral and cultural beliefs.
In the event that you’re incapacitated, your Health Care Proxy will have the authority to make all medical decisions related to your health care. This includes decisions about when to withhold or withdraw life-prolonging procedures. Designation of your Health Care Proxy takes effect as soon as your physician deems that you’re unable to make your own health care decisions.
Even though Advance Directives are official documents, an attorney isn’t required to write them. East End Doula Care is certified in helping you to complete these Directives. The only caveat is you must have two adults witness your directives, and only one of them can be a spouse or blood relative. Also, your designated Health Care Proxy cannot sign your advance directives. Give us a call to set up an appointment.
Can I change my mind after I write my Advanced Directive?
Yes, you can change or cancel an advance directive at any time. Your changes should be written, signed and dated. In fact, it’s a good idea to review your directives periodically and if changes are made, be sure to provide your primary care doctor with a new copy.
What are the next steps?
Once you’ve created your advance directives, let members of your immediate family, especially your Health Care Proxy, know about them and where they’re located.
You’ll want to share a copy with your primary care doctor to include in your medical records, and remember to provide a new copy if your directives change.
Be sure to also bring a copy of your advance directives with you when you’re admitted to the hospital. In the event you are Elderly or diagnosed with a terminal disease, it is always best to keep these papers on the front of your refrigerator. In the event 911 needs to be called, the EMT’s will not be searching through your file cabinet.
Planning for the future is never easy. However, advance directives ensure your wishes are carried out when you’re unable to make sound decisions about your health care, and create peace of mind for both yourself and your loved ones.
Advance Directive Package
All Advanced Directive Care Plans Include the Official New York State Directive Forms ,
Education and Support to complete them. (Packages Below)
Official Directive Forms
1. Living Will (The Five Wishes Directive)
2. Health Care Proxy
3. Living Well End of Life Plan
4. DNR and DNI Forms
Education and Support
1. Overview on why these Directives are so Important
2. Thorough and detailed explanations of all choices and decisions you will make in the Official Documents to be completed.
3. Mediation - The Conversation to be had with family members to ensure everyone is on board.
Completed Package Price
The Complete Advance Directive Package takes approximately 2 Hours to complete, extra time is included if needed. This includes travel costs as I will come to you. This also includes a follow up visit for Family Mediation purposes when necessary. (To be explained during initial meeting)
Total Cost - $250
Health Care Proxy Advocate-
For any individual who does not have a friend or family member to be their designated Health Care Proxy, we will be happy to step in and be there to advocate your wishes that we put together in your Advance Directive Package
Total Cost - $ 500.00
Family and Friend Group Packages
We are so excited to offer our
FRIENDS and FAMILY GATHERING night!
Take the lead, be pro-active and get the word out. I come to you. The more family and friends you can include in the process is helping them to leave a gift to their family like no other. A group visit lightens up the process, save's money and allows everyone to plan their own directives for the future. We work together as a group yet button it all up privately, one on one. No one wants to talk about death and dying. What a perfect reason to get together, a more important reason to button up these loose ends. Your family will thank you later.
Put on a pot of coffee! I'll bring the SNACKS!
***Attorneys charge approximately a thousand dollars to complete your directives. (varies) See how Group Gatherings can save you significantly!***
Total Cost -
FREE Directive to the Host
Group of 2 - 5 People - $99.00 per person
Group of 6 - 10 People - $75.00 per person
Group of 11 - 20 People - $50.00 per person
For groups 20 and above- Inquire Within