Why You Need an Advanced Health Care Directive

Do you have a plan in place to ensure that your affairs will be handled according to your wishes should you become incapacitated?  If not, this is where an Advanced Health Care Directive comes into effect.  With an advanced health care directive you can not only designate someone to make medical decisions for you but can also describe the types of medical care you want to receive.  This includes anywhere from taking medications, to life-support treatment, to where you want to be when you are dying (i.e. in your home, a hospital or nursing home).

 Be sure that the person you designate to carry out your medical care is someone you trust to make these decisions on your behalf and that you and the designee discuss this responsibility and the medical decisions on the directive.  You may also want to have this same discussion with key persons, such as family and other trusted individuals.  The designee can be your spouse, a relative, your physician, or other responsible person.

 The form needs to be notarized and witnessed by qualified individuals.  A copy of the form should also be provided to not only the person designated, but to your physician, family members, and other emergency contacts.

 The form can be obtained from your health care provider, the California Medical Association or the California Hospital Association.

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