Advance directives are legal documents that allow you to express your choices about a terminal illness and if death comes ahead of time. This is a way to for a person to communicate their wishes to family, friends and health care professionals. This will also help avoid confusion later on.
These documents can be classified as living wills, durable power of attorney and organ donation. Living wills lets the patient set forth their plan in advance as to their treatment and care. In a living will it will contain the patient’s wishes in the case where they are incompetent to speak their wishes. (Ramsey)
A durable power of attorney is a document that is signed by the patient. This document establishes a person to be the proxy. A proxy is a person who is able to make decisions for the patient. A durable power of attorney is very specific. If it is only for healthcare, that is the only decisions the proxy can make on behalf of the patient.
The last advance directive is called an organ donation. Organ donation takes healthy organs and tissues from one person for transplantation into another. Experts say that the organs from one donor can save or help as many as 50 people. Organs you can donate include internal organs. Some of the most internal organs are kidneys, heart, liver, pancreas, intestines, lungs, skin, bone and bone marrow, and cornea. Most organ and tissue donations happen after the donor has died. Some organs and tissues can be donated while the donor is alive.
It is important for family members and health care providers to know what kind of medical care a patient wants at the end of their life. Advance directives should be filled out while people are healthy. This gives them time to think about the end-of-life care they would choose if they were unable to communicate their own requests. It also allows time to discuss these requests with their loved ones. The legal and emotional battles the family of patient Terry Schiavo...
References: Ninette, S. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/2005/LAW/03/31/schiavo/index.html
Retrieved from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/organdonation.html
Ramsey, D. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.uslegalforms.com/livingwills/
(n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.buzzle.com/articles/living-will-sample.html
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