An Advance Healthcare Directive is a legal document that gives clear instructions regarding ones medical and personal wishes if one is unable able to make decisions for themselves due to incapacity or illness. Madrona Hospice urges community members to discuss their end of life decisions with loved ones and fill out an Advance Healthcare Directive while in good health, so that decisions are not made in haste or under stress.
When putting together your Advance Healthcare Directive, discuss your wishes with your primary care physician, health care agent, legal counsel, family and friends. Madrona Hospice understands these decisions can be difficult and we are here to help.
Advance Healthcare Directive FAQ
It is a form you fill out advising what you want done in the event of a serious injury or illness and cannot speak for yourself.
An Advance Healthcare Directive accomplishes two things. First, you can name a relative or friend to be your “agent” to make medical decisions if you cannot. Second, you can give instructions about your healthcare.
Your agent should be someone you feel comfortable talking with. Your agent should know your values and what is important to you—it should be someone you trust to do what you want and someone who can stand up for what you want. These decisions can be extremely difficult. You should also name a second choice for agent in case your first choice cannot do it.
Whether or not you write specific instructions, talk with your agent, your family, and your hospice team about how you feel about treatment decisions. Make sure everyone involved understands what you want and why you feel the way you do.
- Will you be an organ donor?
- Will there be an autopsy?
- What kind of funeral/burial arrangements will you have?
It is best to tell your agent how you feel and to write down what you want.
If you want to add or change something, it is better to fill out a new form which will overrule any earlier forms. Be sure to give copies of the new form to anyone who has a copy of the first form.
If you have more questions about Advance Healthcare Directives, please ask your Madrona Hospice Social Worker for help.