Advance Directives Basics

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An advance directive is a legal document that allows an individual to express his or her wishes regarding healthcare in the event that he or she becomes unable to make decisions due to an illness or injury. An advance directive must be signed by the individual, and it must also be witnessed or notarized. According to Caledon senior care professionals, there are two main types of advance directives: the living will and the durable power of attorney for healthcare decisions. A third, but less popular, advance directive is the do not resuscitate order.

Living Will, or Instructional Directive

A living will, also known as an instructional directive, is a written document in which a person states his or her preferences regarding the care given at the end of life. For instance, an individual may state that he or she does not want to be placed on a ventilator or given artificial feedings. The living will does not go into effect until a doctor certifies that the person has a terminal condition and is near the end of life. It also does not go into effect unless the individual is no longer able to make or express healthcare decisions.

Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare, or Proxy Director

This document, also called a proxy directive, allows an individual to appoint another person to act as his or her healthcare agent or proxy. The agent is empowered to make healthcare decisions on the individual’s behalf. The most common type of DPOA is a springing DPOA. While a conventional DPOA is effective immediately, the springing DPOA does not go into effect until a doctor determines that the individual is no longer capacitated and able to make decisions for him or herself.

Do Not Resuscitate

Also called a DNR or an outside-the-hospital DNR, this is a form that an individual can choose to sign. The form states that if the individual’s heartbeat or breathing stop, he or she will be allowed to die naturally without any attempts at cardiopulmonary resuscitation or CPR. Unlike a living will or a DPOA, the DNR must be co-signed by a doctor.

When discussing advance directives with your senior loved one, consider asking him or her about long-term home care. While your loved one might not need assistance currently, it’s never too early to learn more about hourly and live-in care in Caledon. Give a friendly Care Manager a call at 905-951-8885 and schedule a complimentary consultation today.