Understanding Medical Directives
Creating a written document that clearly states one’s preference for future medical care and end-of-life care is an essential part of the advance care planning process. Not only will the document clearly state the individual’s values and wishes, but also will support the healthcare advocate in ensuring those wishes are carried out.
Living Wills and Medical Power of Attorney
Several options exist for putting wishes for future medical care into writing. How effective each will be depends on the statutes and laws in each state. Living wills and medical power of attorney for healthcare documents are more formal legal documents and generally meet state requirements when completed by an adult over the age of 18. Most states have forms available to document future healthcare wishes. Learn more about medical directives in Texas.
Medical Power of Attorney
A medical power of attorney allows you to legally appoint a healthcare advocate to make medical decisions on your behalf. A medical power of attorney can be enacted even if the person is not diagnosed with a terminal disease. It is not required that an attorney draft a medical power of attorney, and Texas Oncology can assist you with drafting this document.
An advance directive, one of the most common documents used to indicate future medical choices, is a living will that allows you to clearly state your wishes for medical treatment at the end of life. Unlike a medical power of attorney, an advance directive can only be enacted if the person is unable to communicate their wishes. A Texas Oncology social worker can assist you with filling out the paperwork to ensure that your decisions are legally protected.
Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) Order
It’s important to note that advance directives do not include a do not resuscitate (DNR) order, which formally requests that if your heart stops or you stop breathing that you do not wish for medical intervention. Texas Oncology can provide you the opportunity to meet with your healthcare advocate and healthcare providers to complete this form if these are your wishes.
Advance Care Documents
Review your advance care planning documents regularly to ensure that your wishes and values remain aligned with the formal documents in place regarding future medical care. Should you alter your medical directives, be sure to inform your healthcare advocate.