An advance directive is an important legal document that communicates your wishes for medical treatment if you become unable to make decisions for yourself. You might have considered establishing a will for your end-of-life wishes, but many people overlook the value of an advance directive as part of their plans.
There are a few key things your advance directive should address.
Organ donation preferences
You can list your organ donation wishes in your advance directive so that your intentions are clear. Specifying your preferences ahead of time takes the guesswork out of this decision for your loved ones. According to UNOS, their waiting list for transplants contains more than 103,000 patients, so consider defining your donation wishes in your advance directive so that your care team can respond.
Your advance directive is also the place to outline any preferences you may have for specific treatments, such as blood transfusions, dialysis, breathing machines, CPR, etc. You can decline treatment you would not want sustained long-term in the event of severe illness or injury. Specifying these choices gives your family and doctors clear guidance.
Finally, you can use your advance directive to document whether you want extraordinary measures taken to prolong your life if you are terminally ill or permanently unconscious. Address measures such as tube feeding, experimental treatments and artificial ventilation here.
With some advance planning, you can make sure your loved ones understand your wishes. Take time to complete an advance directive and share it with your family.