What Is An Advance Care Directive? 4 Important Steps

No one wants to talk about it. Few even want to approach the question of what is an advanced care directive?

Why? Perhaps because the question reminds us of issues we may feel we’re not ready to consider. However, an advanced care directive is vital to ensuring that your wishes are carried out in the event that you are unable to do so. 

We’ll take a look at the 4 most important steps of advanced care directives, how to create an advance care plan, and important points to consider.

What Is An Advanced Care Directive? 

Advanced care directives are a part of the process of making decisions about your future healthcare in advance. This ensures that your wishes are honored if you become unable to make decisions for yourself. It involves discussing and documenting your values, goals, and treatment preferences with your loved ones and healthcare providers.

Advanced care directives also alleviate stress on your caregivers, as they are now aware of what you wanted. This makes them sure that they are doing what you would want.

What Are the 4 Steps of Advanced Care Directives?

The four most important steps of advanced care directives are:

1. Begin the Conversation

While no one likes to talk about advanced care directives, it’s important to discuss your desires with your family, your healthcare providers, and those you love. By communicating openly and honestly about your values, beliefs, and goals, the process of advance care planning will be easier for everyone involved.

2. Talk With Your Doctor

Your healthcare team has an in-depth understanding of medical treatments and any interventions that are available. They’ll also be able to speak with you about the different types of medical scenarios that might arise, and what treatment options would be available. Don’t hesitate to ask questions. 

3. Determine Your Preferences

Reflect on your values, beliefs, and personal goals to decide what kind of medical care aligns with your wishes. Consider scenarios such as end-of-life care, life-sustaining treatments, and palliative care.

4.Document Your Wishes

Record your healthcare preferences in an advanced care directive document, such as a living will, health care proxy, or durable power of attorney for healthcare. These documents ensure that your wishes are known and followed if you’re unable to communicate or make decisions in the future. 

What Is Advanced Care Directive Documentation?

What is an advanced care directive? It includes documentation so your loved ones will know your wishes.

This documentation refers to the legal documents that formally capture and outline your healthcare preferences. These documents include:

Living Will

A living will is a written document that specifies your preferences for medical treatments and interventions in different situations, particularly toward the end of life. It typically addresses issues such as resuscitation, life support, and pain management.

Healthcare Proxy or Medical Power of Attorney

This document designates a trusted person, known as a healthcare proxy or agent, to make healthcare decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so. It is essential to choose someone who understands your wishes and will advocate for your best interests.

Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare

Similar to a healthcare proxy, a durable power of attorney for healthcare grants someone the authority to make medical decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. It remains valid even if you lose decision-making capacity.

It’s important to consult with legal professionals or use state-specific forms to ensure that your advance care planning documents comply with the laws and regulations of your jurisdiction.

Remember, advanced care directive planning is an ongoing process that can be revisited and updated as your preferences or circumstances change.

For information on advanced directives in North Carolina, simply visit the website of the NC Secretary of State.

Brook Stone Offers Resources You Need For Advanced Care Directives

Our assisted living facility in Pollocksville offers more than delicious meals, supervised care, and a highly-trained medical team. We also offer access to resources that can help you as you seek advanced directive planning.

Are you finding it more difficult to provide the care your loved one needs? See why so many of our residents love living at Brook Stone. Take the next step and contact us to schedule a tour.