Advance care planning involves making decisions about the care you would want to receive in a medical crisis that might be the result of a serious illness or an unexpected accident. Advance care planning also involves deciding who will speak for you if you are not able to speak for yourself.
April 16, 2014 is National Healthcare Decisions Day and Americans are encouraged to ensure that their future healthcare choices are known and protected. The process does not take long and it is free.
All adults can benefit from thinking about what their healthcare choices would be if they are unable to speak for themselves. These decisions should be written down in an Advance Directive so that others know what they are. Advance directives come in two main forms:
- A “healthcare power of attorney” (or “proxy” or “agent” or “surrogate”) documents the person you select to be your voice for your healthcare decisions if you cannot speak for yourself.
- A “living will” documents what kinds of medical treatments you would or would not want at the end of life.
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