Did you know that April 16th is National Healthcare Decisions Day? This date is set aside each year to encourage everyone over the age of 18 to discuss and plan ahead for a serious illness. All adults can benefit from thinking about what their healthcare choices would be if they are ever unable to speak for themselves. These decisions can be documented in an Advance Directive so that others know what they are.
Without Advanced Directives, families and healthcare providers often have to struggle with making difficult healthcare decisions in the absence of guidance from the patient. With Advanced Directives, healthcare providers and facilities are better equipped to address advance healthcare planning issues before a crisis and are better able to honor the patient’s wishes.
There are two main forms of Advanced Directives:
A “Health Care Proxy” documents the person you select to be your voice for your healthcare decisions if you cannot speak for yourself.
A “Living Will” documents what kinds of medical treatments you would or would not want at the end of life.
Did you also know that Federal Patient Self-Determination Act requires that all Medicare-participating healthcare facilities inquire about and provide information to patients on Advance Directives? It also requires these facilities to provide community education on Advance Directives. See 42 C.F.R. § 489.102. All healthcare facilities are required to:
- Provide information about health care decision-making rights.
- Ask all patients if they have an Advance Directive.
- Educate their staff and community about Advance Directives.
- Not discriminate against patients based on an Advance Directive status.
If a Health Care Proxy does not exist, New York does offer a listing of family members that can make decisions for you but it is wiser to choose in advance who you wish to act on your behalf. If that avenue fails or if there is disagreement, then the family is forced into a Guardianship proceeding which is very costly and time consuming.
To learn more about Advance Directives please review our following Client Memorandums:
The Staff at Tully Law, P.C. are also here to answer your questions and concerns regarding Advanced Directives, as well as to help you make your wishes known in the event of a life threatening circumstance.