Should I have a health care directive?

If you end up in the hospital with a medical condition that makes it impossible for you to communicate your wishes, what would happen? According to the Minnesota Department of Health, doctors will usually consult with your loved ones as to what to do regarding your situation. Your loved ones may or may not follow your wishes. To prevent something from happening that you do not want, your best option is to create a health care directive.

A health care directive gives someone else the ability to make decisions about your health for you when you cannot communicate your wishes. It can also appoint who will make the call that you cannot make your own decisions. It allows you to plan ahead and make sure the person you appoint knows what you want to happen in various medical situations.

The directive must be in writing. It must include the name of the person who will make decisions for you, called the agent. This person must be 18 years old or older, and you must be 18 years old or older. The document also needs to contain the date, your wishes and instructions and your notarized signature. The directive is valid until you change or cancel it.

A health care directive is useful if you end up in a coma or have a medical emergency that makes you unable to communicate. It allows you to ensure what you want to happen will happen since your agent must abide by what is in the document. This information is for education and is not legal advice.

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