Defining Advanced Care Planning

Anyone who has been diagnosed with a serious medical condition should consider the estate planning process of advanced care planning. There are several different kinds of advanced directive documents that can be used to help support your efforts.

These are written directions that a patient gives for future medical care if they become unable to speak or make decisions for themselves. There are two primary kinds of advanced directives; living wills and a durable health-care power of attorney or a health care proxy. Every patient has the right to change their mind and has the responsibility to keep other parties informed about these wishes.

Anyone who has an advanced progressive disease of any type will want to sit down with an estate planning attorney to discuss the following points in further details:

  • Discussions with surrogates and physicians about preferences.
  • Stating any preferences for time-limited medical trials.
  • Discussing what to do in the event of an adverse issue.
  • Stating overall treatment goals.
  • Naming a surrogate to make decisions on your behalf.

A truly complete plan will look at multiple different kinds of issues and will be recorded in the medical record, readily available to any caregiver inside a hospital, nursing home or home and be very specific and cover a variety of situations that empower the person to make decisions on behalf of the incapacitated party. 

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