“My daughter said that my wife and I need to do some advance care planning. What is she talking about?”
Advance Care Planning is the process of making decisions about the care you want to receive should you become incapacitated and be unable to make your own decisions.
Advance Care Planning normally includes:
- Making decisions about the treatment you want, or do not want.
- Sharing your medical decisions with your family and other loved ones.
- Completing Advance Care Directives which puts your decisions into writing.
Advance Care Directives may include the following legal documents:
- Health Care Power-of-Attorney. This document allows you to appoint a person to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are unable to make your own decisions. Before a Health Care Power-of-Attorney is implemented, your physician(s) must first stipulate that you are unable to make your own medical decisions. The person you select to make your medical decisions is called your Health Care Agent. Ideally, the person you appoint as your Health Care Agent is someone who: 1) understands the medical decisions you would make if you were able to do so; 2) is able to remain calm in a crisis; and, 3) is willing to advocate for you with doctors and other hospital staff.
- Declaration of a Desire for a Natural Death. This document allows you to express your choices about your medical care only in the event that you are terminally ill or permanently unconscious. In most states, this document is called a “living will”. As a general rule, you don’t need to execute a Declaration of a Natural Death if you have signed a comprehensive South Carolina Health Care Power of Attorney.
- The Five Wishes. This document can be used in lieu of the South Carolina Health Care Power-of-Attorney and the South Carolina Declaration of a Desire for a Natural Death. The Five Wishes was created by the non-profit organization Aging with Dignity in 1996 and has now been used by over 25 million Americans. The document breaks down the Five Wishes as follows:
- Wish 1: The Person I want to Make Care Decisions for Me When I Can’t
- Wish 2: The Kind of Medical Treatment I Want or Don’t Want
- Wish 3: How Comfortable I Want to Be
- Wish 4: How I Want People to Treat Me
- Wish 5: What I Want My Loved Ones to Know
- Do Not Resuscitate (DNR). A DNR is a doctor’s order that is placed in your medical records and that indicates your desire to not have cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), electrical shocks and/or assistance with breathing when a medical crisis occurs in a healthcare facility. Emergency Medical Services-DNR. An Emergency Medical Services-DNR prohibits emergency personnel from employing resuscitative measures if you are terminally ill. Do Not Intubate (DNI). A DNI is a doctor’s order that is placed in your medical records and is used to expresses your desire to not be placed on a ventilator to help you breathe.
At Goepper Burkhardt we help our clients make their Advance Care decisions and we coordinate the preparation of Advance Care Directives with the client’s estate attorney.
If you have questions about Advanced Care Planning, contact us to learn more.