Many people find it hard to talk about serious illnesses or life-threatening emergencies. Yet it’s important to make sure your loved ones know what you wish to be done about your medical care before you are faced with a serious accident or illness.
That’s where advance directives come in.
An advance directive provides you with the tool you need to help you tell others about your wishes regarding treatments such as resuscitation and life-support machines. These documents allow you to state what your preferences are for medical care.
Georgia Advance Directive for Health Care
Changes in the Georgia Law which occurred in July of 2007 replaced the Living Will and Durable Power of Attorney with the Georgia Advance Directive Health Care Act. The Georgia Advance Directive for Health Care provides you with 3 options:
Living Wills or Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care that you had executed before July 1, 2007 are still considered valid health care directives. There is no need to replace these older documents. The new law and it's Georgia Advance Directive document are recognized for any decision making occurring on or after July 1, 2007.
Making Medical Decisions
You may want to talk with your doctor and your family about your medical wishes. You should consider your personal values including the importance of independence and self-sufficiency. Your religious views also may help you make these decisions. You also should consider whether your prognosis (likelihood of recovery) would make a difference in whether you would want to receive that type of treatment.
Treatments to consider include:
Choosing a Health Care Agent
You should carefully consider who you would designate as your health care agent. This person doesn’t have to be a member of your family. You should feel comfortable with the person you choose and be able to discuss end-of-life decisions with him or her. Once you’ve made the decision, you should talk with that person to make sure he or she is willing to act as your agent for health care decisions. Once he or she agrees, you also should let your family and physician know who has been selected. Some people also choose an alternate in case the first person can’t be reached in an emergency.
Forms for Advance Directives
You can get the forms for Advance Directives from Spalding Regional Hospital from our admission staff or from our Case Management staff. You will get information about what each of the forms does and how to complete the forms. Once you’ve completed the forms, you should give copies to your doctor, your designated health care decision maker(s) and family members.
You can revise or cancel your advance directive at any time regardless of your physical or mental condition. You’ll need to let your doctor, attorney, agent and family members of any changes you make.
Starting the Conversation
Serious illness and death aren’t easy subjects to talk about. But by talking about these issues, you can help ensure that you receive the type of care you want, when you want it.
When talking with your family about advance directives, be matter-of-fact and reassuring. Your goal is to take some of the burden off your family by making your wishes known.
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