Tips to help Iowa residents with advanced care planning.
While many people in Iowa and throughout the nation may not have a plan in place for advanced care, it is something that they might wish to consider. Advanced care planning is a process in which a person has selected another individual who will reflect his or her desires regarding health care methods in the event that person becomes mentally incapacitated because of an injury or illness.
Nowadays, people are able to live longer because of the advancement of medical technology. Consequently, with all the medical options available, it is a good idea for people to choose an individual whom they completely trust. This individual should fully understand the person’s wishes regarding life support because health care professionals will automatically start life-extending procedures unless otherwise indicated by the patient’s representative.
Secondly, the decision should be documented on a power of attorney, health care proxy or appointment of health care agent. Although the form does not have to be notarized, it must be witnessed when signed.
Thirdly, regarding life-support measures, the person’s exact wishes should be put into writing. This may be in the form of a letter written to the person’s family members, a spouse, minister or a trustworthy friend. The document will indicate the person’s particular desires regarding his or her long-term health care procedures if, for example, an injury, stroke or disease should leave that person brain-dead. The person should make sure a copy of the letter is part of his or her medical records for a future doctor’s reference.
Also known as an advance directive, advanced care planning offers people the chance to reflect on and discuss important medical choices in case they lose the ability to make these decisions themselves. An attorney who is knowledgeable in the area of elder care may be able to offer legal advice including filling out proper documents and helping clients stipulate the long-term care preference they prefer.
Source: The Huffington Post, Advance Care Planning: What No One Wants to Think About But Everyone Should Do”, Diane Meier, Aug. 12, 2015
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