Advance Directives Importance

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End of Life Planning and the Importance of Advance Directives
As people begin to age and become ill, the need for end of life planning becomes imminent. Thorough thought and consideration should be taken as one plans for some of the most life influencing moments of medical care. The use of Advance Directives allows for autonomy in choosing the medical treatment one receives, while offering the ability to die with ones dignity intact, and ensures that a person’s final wishes are honored. An Advance Directives main purpose is to appoint a surrogate to act on ones behalf when they cannot (Benson & Aldrich, 2012). Universally, decisions concerning life and death issues affect a large and increasing number of individuals, spurring the need for
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An Advance Directive appoints a surrogate decision maker also known as the durable power of attorney for health care agent, to make medical decision on a person’s behalf (Nabili & Shiel Jr., 2015). Similarly, some states recognize orally spoken advance directives as legal. Advance directives primarily consist of three types a living will, durable power of attorney, and Do-Not-Resuscitate Order. “A living will is a document that specifies the kinds of medical treatment a patient desires and can be very specific or very general” (Alfonso, 2009, p. 43). This document only becomes effective when it reaches the hands of the health care team caring for the patient (Alfonso, 2009, p. 43). A durable power of attorney is enacted by a legal document which names a person of 18 years of age or older as a surrogate decision maker allowing them to make all health care decisions if a person become unable to do so (Goldberg & Bennington Jr., 2013). This individual may also make bank transactions, sign social security checks, apply for disability, or simply write checks to pay the utility bill while an individual is medically incapacitated (Nabili & Shiel Jr., 2015). A Do-Not-Resuscitate Order is A do-not-resuscitate order also known as a DNR order, is a written document in which it expresses the wish that if breathing and…show more content…
An Advance directive serves as an important set of documents for any individual to have but even more so, for older adults who may potentially be at an even greater risk of hospitalization. Every competent adult has the legal right to be informed of the purpose, benefits, risks, and alternatives of any medical treatment to be given, along with the right to refuse any medical procedures (American Cancer Society, 2015). Advance directive allows for choices regarding medical care to be within a patient’s control and for ease in decision making of circumstances, where unwanted medical treatments and procedures would be used in effort to preserve life at any cost. This legal document also helps to alleviate the burden potentially felt by a patient’s family. As seen with the legal case of Terri Schiavo, a young woman who at 27 years old lived in a persistent vegetative state as a result of cardiac arrest, went through a publicized legal battle between her husband and family to determine whether to discontinue the use of tube feeding (Annas, 2005, p. 2). With no Advance directive in place to express Terri Schiavos medical wishes, her husband and family were both equally burdened by the battle of deciding whose final wishes would be best for Terri
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