It is easy not to think about what might happen if you cannot communicate your health care wishes to your doctors. You might currently be in a good state of health with no problems letting other people know about your life preferences. However, an illness, an accident, or conditions brought about by old age can rob you of your ability to make your medical wishes known. This is why some people compose advance directives.
The Mayo Clinic explains that people create advance directives by documenting how doctors and hospitals are to treat them in the event they cannot communicate their care preferences. For instance, if you are in a coma, you cannot tell your doctor what treatments you want or do not want. An advance directive makes sure a relative or other party close to you does not override your wishes when you cannot speak for yourself.
Other scenarios may necessitate the use of an advance directive. You might suffer a serious injury from an automobile or workplace accident that takes away your ability to speak or communicate in a meaningful way. At an old age, you may experience dementia and lose the capacity to understand events around you, including your current health status. Some people use directives to dictate care for terminal illnesses.
A living will is a well known form of an advance directive. People dictate in their living wills the various kinds of treatments they want and do not want. You might not want a hospital to utilize methods to keep you alive past a certain point. You may dictate to doctors not to use tube feeding, artificial ventilation, or CPR. Living wills also address palliative care, which consists of anything to manage pain and maintain comfort while abiding by other treatments preferred by the patient.
Advance directives, such as living wills, are for adults both young and older. Unanticipated events like a car crash or a serious ailment can strike anyone. An advance directive can help clarify how you want doctors to treat you in the event a life changing event occurs.