Do you have an advanced health care directive? If not, you have plenty of company as only 30% of Marylanders have an advanced health care directive in place. An advanced health care directive allows you to name an individual (and often a backup) to make health care decisions for you if you were unable to communicate your decisions to a health care provider. Many people are familiar with the term “living will” as well. Health care directives can offer your family and friends some comfort in knowing what your wishes are, and aid in making difficult and emotional decisions.
How do you choose your agent/decision maker? For married people, spouses are a common choice, though it is certainly not required. Adult children and siblings are also very common, but a close friend can also be a good option. When choosing among one’s children or siblings, you may want to consider geographical proximity, any specialized training or experience the person may have, and your own comfort in discussing the issue with that person. You should always first talk with the person who you would like to be your decision maker, and many people also choose to give a copy of the document to the agent.
Have you been putting off getting your health care documents in order? Healthcare decisions day is April 16th, make it a goal to complete your documents by then!
For more information on advanced health care directives, please contact Heather L. Sunderman at (301) 664-7710 or firstname.lastname@example.org.