What Is The Importance Of A Living Will or Health Care Directive?

WHAT IS A LIVING WILL/HEALTH CARE DIRECTIVE?When you are taken to a hospital in Minnesota from an accident or illness, it may be too late to prepare the documents to assure you the care you want or to provide access to your medical information for your loved ones.The Terri Schiavo case in Florida several years ago provides a graphic example of why every adult should have a health care directive.In that case, a 27 year-old woman went into the hospital for a simple medical procedure but fell into a coma and she lived for a number of years.She had no health care directive so her family could not help decide her medical treatment. The case went all through the Florida courts as well as the Congress, the White House and the U.S. Supreme Court. It certainly was a very sad affair.A Health Care Directive (HCD) under Minnesota law goes by many names… sometimes it is called a “Living Will” or an Advance Care Declaration or Health Care Power of Attorney. They all mean the same thing.A HCD identifies who you would want to make your medical treatment decisions if you’re not able to make those choices on your own. The choice of the health care agent or health care proxy is one you should carefully consider. It should be someone you trust, who is sensitive to your wishes regarding health care but, at the same time, a person who can make a tough decision on your behalf if it comes to that.The HCD spells out what medical procedures and medications you would want and which ones you do not want. However, with the constant improvements in medicine, some procedures that were once may have been painful or intrusive may be more tolerable at the time your Health Care Agent must make a decision.A HCD can also direct what you want to be done with your body after death including whether or not you want cremation or organ donation. You can also designate funeral arrangements and burial location.Having a HCD is very important for you and your entire family. Talk to your attorney or your doctor about one soon.

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