Advanced Directive for Health Care
What is an advance directive?
For many people, the COVID-19 pandemic has made distant end-of-life scenarios suddenly feel less remote. Being faced with a known, widespread illness—one that often leaves people hospitalized apart from loved ones—makes expressing one’s wishes in writing feel more urgent than ever.
Advance directives are one legal tool used to express those wishes now, taking the pressure off of family members. And while healthcare decisions related to the coronavirus are top of mind for many, an advance directive is really for anyone at any point in life.
What is an advance directive in Georgia?
An advance directive is a state-specific document that appoints an agent to make health care decisions if you are unable to make them yourself and stating your preferences on the type of care you would like to receive at the end stages of your life. When these end of life care preferences are not dictated, doctors have a range of emergency treatments they draw on to keep patients alive, including the use of:
- Tube feeding or intravenous fluids
How do you draft an advance directive?
If you don’t already have an advance directive, begin by thinking about what’s most important to you in life and what type of care you’d want to receive. What are your priorities in regard to personal care? Does your faith dictate a certain type of end of life process? You may want to set up a virtual consultation with your family doctor in order to talk about any existing health risks you have. Think about health history and the end-of-life care relatives received. You may also wish to learn more about palliative care or comfort care.
Once you’ve thought through your choices, you should memorialize your wishes in an advance directive for healthcare. A lawyer is not required to execute an advance directive, but consulting with a lawyer will ensure that your advance directive reflects your wishes. After your documents are complete, you may wish to share a copy with your doctor to keep in your file. You’ll also want to speak with family members about your plans.
Whatever you decide now, your document can be revisited as your values shift, your perspective on life changes or as you face a known disease or condition instead of a theoretical emergency.
This is a difficult time for everyone right now, filled with stress and anxiety. But it’s also causing many people to think about what matters most to them. End-of-life care is deeply personal. We understand that, and we’re here to help.
Speak With an Atlanta Estate Planning Lawyer
At Nadler Biernath, we’re happy to be able to support families as they navigate this ongoing crisis. We have experience handling all aspects of estate planning, special needs law and elder law. Call us today at 770-999-9799 to schedule your initial consultation (conducted virtually) to discuss how we can help your loved ones. Stay safe and healthy!