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Advance Healthcare Directives Lawyers in Lenoir County

Ensuring Your Healthcare Needs Are Heard

It is important to have your medical preferences heard. Ideally, we want the opportunity to tell our doctors and other healthcare professionals directly what we do and do not want when it comes to our medical needs.

But what happens if we don’t have the voice necessary to relay that information? What if you suffer from some unforeseen, terrible event that lands you in the hospital but are unable to communicate? What will happen to you?

This is where an advance medical directive comes into play.

To summarize, the purpose of an advance medical directive is to speak for you when you are unable to communicate. An advance directive will contain the legal instructions regarding your medical preference should you need the ability to tell the medical professionals yourself. An advance directive also covers end-of-life decisions, taking the burden of guessing your wishes off of your friends and loved ones.

Who Needs an Advance Healthcare Directive?

People may assume that they do not need a healthcare advance directive for any number of reasons. Perhaps you are happy, healthy, and young. Or, maybe you don’t have any preexisting medical conditions, so why would you need to have your healthcare decision laid out in plain English ahead of time?

The fact of the matter is the world is a chaotic, unpredictable place. You may be young, but that doesn’t account for car accidents, which rank as one of the highest causes of death and injury for young people. You may be healthy and have no preexisting medical conditions, but what if you have some underlying health concern that you are unaware of?

This is why anyone who has medical preferences concerning their own health should create an advance directive. Don’t wait until disaster strikes to wish you would’ve sat down with your lawyer and created an iron-clad advance healthcare directive.

What Do Advance Healthcare Directives Cover?

The fact of the matter is advance healthcare directives can cover just about anything as far as your medical preferences or end-of-life preferences are concerned.

There are two main types of advance directives: a living will and power of attorney for healthcare.

What is a Living Will?

You are likely already familiar with the concept of a will. It’s that document your family will use to find out how your estate is distributed after you pass. But what is a living will?

Living wills are a legal document that lays out your preferred medical treatment for doctors and other medical professionals. Your living will will cover which common medical treatments you are comfortable with, which ones you would like to avoid, and the conditions where your choices come into effect. It gives you the ability to communicate your preferences with your doctor, even when you can’t speak or otherwise communicate.

What is a Power of Attorney?

A power of attorney is a legal document that you draft and file that names a person who will act as your health care proxy should you be in a position where you are unable to relay your medical preferences to your healthcare provider. This person can make medical decisions for you when you are unable to. Healthcare professionals can communicate with your power of attorney and get information and permission from them in regard to care decisions for you.

What is Covered Under a Living Will?

Your living will will cover any number of medical decisions on your behalf. This removes the guesswork for your doctors, family, and loved ones. There is no need to try and figure out what you would have wanted because you have laid your wishes out in an easy to read document.

If you have a preexisting medical condition, you may have specific treatment methods you need or would like to avoid. Your living will can describe and inform staff of your condition. Your advance directive will also cover the following:

Do Not Resuscitate Order

Do not resuscitate orders, also known as a DNR, inform medical staff that you do not want to receive CPR or other life-support measures to be attempted if your heart stops beating or you are unable to breathe on your own. You can specify you would like other life saving measures, but not CPR.

Do Not Intubate Order

A DNI order informs medical staff that you do not want to be intubated should you be admitted to the hospital. Intubation can be used with a ventilator, a device that mechanically breathes for you if you can’t. You can clearly define when you would or would not want to be intubated.

Do Not Hospitalize

A DNH order tends to be for individuals who are in a nursing or assisted living facility. This would inform staff that should they need end-of-life treatment; they do not want to be transported to a hospital.

Setting Guidelines

You can specify in your advance directive when you would or would not want certain treatments. You can specify that you do not want certain life-saving measures performed if doctors conclude that you will not have a quality of life. An example of this would be if you suffered significant brain trauma and, regardless of life-saving measures taken, you will not have a good quality of life.

When Should You Speak With an Attorney?

Advance healthcare directives can cover a broad range of topics and circumstances. You want your voice heard, even if you are voiceless.

Don’t wait until disaster strikes. Don’t even wait for a negative medical diagnosis. The best way to protect yourself and your family is with an advanced health care directive.

Call 252-262-1325 to speak with the compassionate team at Swindell Law Firm, PC. Schedule your free consultation, and let us help you protect your interests!