Thursday, August 13, 2015

Advance Directive

Advance directive — A document that enables an individual capable of making decisions to articulate preferences and authorizations regarding health care. 

Appointment directive (health care proxy, power of attorney for health care) is a document in which you legally appoint a health care agent/representative/proxy/power of attorney for health care) and authorize that person to make treatment decisions for you if you are ever temporarily or permanently unable to make these decisions for yourself. Your appointed agent will have the same decisional authority as you and will be able to confer with your care team in real time and make any decisions you would be able to make. The appointment of an alternate agent is recommended as a back-up in case your primary agent is unavailable or unable to make decisions for you.

Instruction directive (living will) is a set of instructions about specific tests or treatments that you would or would not want under specific conditions. The weakness of the instruction directive is that it requires you to anticipate future medical conditions that you may or may not experience and predict what types of care you would or would not want. 

Decisional capacity—The ability to understand your medical condition and its likely course; the benefits, burdens and risks of the proposed treatment options and alternatives; and their likely outcomes; and make informed care and treatment decisions based on the information. If you temporarily or permanently lose the capacity to make your own medical decisions, a surrogate (either an agent you have appointed in an advance directive or a close relative) will make decisions on your behalf.