An Advanced Health Care Directive Helps You Protect Your Rights
If you are left unconscious by an accident or illness, how can you protect your right of self-determination in the state of California? It is of vital important to have an advanced health care directive legally filled out in advance. What is involved in completing this legal document?
A Document Specific to the State of California
First of all, it is important to note that heath care directives differ from state to state, so you need the wording to be appropriate for your home state, and a lawyer with experience in advanced health care directives can help you to execute this document properly to ensure your wishes are followed.
Second, you need to select the individual (or individuals) responsible for upholding your wishes if you are not conscious to do so yourself. This can be a family member, a reliable friend, or anyone else you trust to uphold your stated decisions. It is important to note that you cannot select a health care provider, your provider’s employee (unless related), or someone who works for any kind of community or residential care facility (again, unless related).
What Does the Directive Accomplish?
In your advanced medical directive, you can outline the types of medical treatment you will or will not accept as well as end of life decisions. This can make such decisions easier for loved ones since they will know your wishes in advance rather than having to make a decision on their own during a time of mourning. The directive also ensures that you will not receive treatments you may find offensive or do not wish to receive for some other reason.
What can happen if you do not have such a document? In the case of you being unable to make a decision (loss of consciousness, etc.) your medical decisions may be made by a distant relative, your doctor, or even a court order from a judge. These individuals may have no idea how you feel about certain forms of treatment. Thus, an advanced medical directive protects your legal right to make health care decisions for yourself.