Advance Directives – Why You Need to Have One
In case of a medical emergency, have you spoken to your loved ones about advance directives? Although a difficult topic, it is very important to have your wishes in place before an emergency happens. Continue reading to learn more about advance directives and why it’s important for you and your family to have them documented.
Advance Directives are an important step in receiving quality medical care, but they are often overlooked. Family members are often forced to make tough decisions in times when they may not be thinking straight. When advance directives are in place prior to a medical emergency, it ensures the patient’s wishes are honored.
What are Advance Directives?
In Canada, two components make up an advance directive; a living will and durable healthcare power of attorney. A living will is a document written of your wishes in case you are unable to make decisions in a medical emergency whereas a healthcare power of attorney names someone as your proxy who can make medical decisions on your behalf. This document can be altered at any time in your life, given you are in a mentally stable mindset.
Some examples of what can be included in an advance directive are:
- Ventilator use
- Artificial nutrition (tube feeding, IV, fluids etc.)
- End of life comfort care
How to Create an Advance Directive
In Canada, depending on your province an advance directive can be created by filling out a legal document. Which may or may not require a witness or notary. Most regions do not need a lawyer present to create an advance directive. Be sure to give a completed copy of your advance directives to any and all healthcare providers in your life.
How to Store Your Advance Directives
It’s important that your family and medical providers know and have access to this document. A great idea is to make multiple copies to ensure documents are in order in case of an emergency. TAMVOES is an ideal online platform to store your advance directives as your family members and health professionals can have easy access to this document. Allow your family to be prepared and make the hard decisions before they happen. Upload your advance directives into your Personal Data Trust through TAMVOES.
Remember – even if you have advance directives in place, it’s a great idea to review them regularly as your wishes may change. And It’s also important to make sure your loved ones know where these documents are, so you are always prepared.