If you have always been healthy, you might not think too much about the possibility of falling ill and needing extensive treatment. Yet, the longer you live the more likely you will require medical attention as the body gradually weakens. This is where an advance health care directive can be beneficial.
These documents allow you to specify any medical preferences you might have. For example, maybe your religion does not allow you to accept blood transfusions. If you wish to uphold that, then write it down in the directive. Otherwise medical staff and family may naturally opt to give you a transfusion if it could save your life.
You have a lot of scope to define what you do or do not want. This can range from specifying your preferred doctor to contact in the case of an emergency to whether or not you should be resuscitated. The advance directive is your chance to let others know what you would want.
How can a directive benefit your family?
Let’s say you are seriously injured or ill and the doctors approach your loved ones to tell you they may be able to save you, but the operation is high risk, and even if the surgery succeeds, you won’t have nearly the same quality of life as before.
Some family members may be so distraught at the thought of losing you that they’d take any chance to have you remain with them. Others might believe you would hate to be brought back from the brink of death only to live a life where you rely on others for everyday tasks such as washing and eating. Who is right? How do they decide?
By outlining your wishes in an advance health care directive now, you spare them that difficult choice and the problems and guilt it could cause.