Persons have a right to make their own healthcare decisions. But what if something happens that makes it impossible for you to communicate your decisions to your family or provider?
A Healthcare Directive is a written document that conveys your wishes regarding the use or refusal of medical care, including life-prolonging treatment, nutrition, and hydration.
It’s never too early to think about what kind of care you want in the event you are unable to make decisions for yourself. If you want people to know—and follow—your wishes, now is the time to do the following:
- Complete a Healthcare Directive.
- Talk to your spouse, family, clergy, and doctor about your preferences.
Forms and more detailed information about healthcare directives are available by contacting Trinity Health’s Pastoral Care Department. Consider it a gift to yourself as well as your loved ones.
What should you do with your copy when finished?
- Keep the originals in a safe but easily accessible place.
- Keep a record of who has your advance directives.
- Give a copy to your doctor/hospital.
- Give a copy to your healthcare agent and any alternate agents.
- Keep a copy with you when you are traveling.
- Talk to family members and other important people in your life about your advance directives and your healthcare wishes. By having these conversations now, you help ensure that your family members clearly understand your wishes. Having a clear understanding of your preferences can help your family members avoid conflict and feelings of guilt.
- Carry a wallet-sized card that indicates you have advance directives, identifies your healthcare agent and states where a copy of your directives can be found.