When it comes to our healthcare, many of us like to be in control of any decisions regarding the treatment and care we receive. But what if you were unable to make that decision for yourself? Advance directives are documents that allow you to relay your wishes regarding the care you do or do not wish to receive in the event that you are medically unable to speak for yourself. At Fairfield Medical Center, we recognize and support every patient’s right to direct their own healthcare and to have their written wishes as part of their medical record in the form of advance directives. Yet, many people neglect to fill out these important documents, leaving their loved ones with the difficult task of having to make those decisions for them.
The process of completing Advance Directives is not as difficult as some may assume. Anyone 18-years-old or older who is of sound mind can fill out an advance directive. You also do not need a lawyer to fill out an advance directive, although you may choose to talk with a lawyer about your wishes. Below is an overview of each of the three Advance Directive documents:
- Healthcare Power of Attorney (HCPOA or HPOA): A person appointed to make healthcare decisions for you in the event that you cannot make a decision for yourself. Make sure this person is in absolute agreement with your wishes.
- Living Will: Provides directions for everyone on what care you want or don’t want to receive.
- DNR (Do Not Resuscitate):
- DNR-CCA (Comfort Care Arrest) – You wish all medical treatments/interventions to be done up until the point your heart or breathing stops.
- DNR-CC (Comfort Care) – You wish for comfort measures, supportive and/or symptom management to be done only. No surgery. No CPR. No aggressive medical treatments.
- A DNR document is not required if you wish to be a full code. It also does not stop you from receiving medications and or medical treatment.
If you’ve been putting off completing these important documents, don’t wait until you are too ill or completely unable to make your wishes known.
Learn more about next steps for advance care planning.