What Are Advanced Driectives And How They Are Used

Advanced DirectivesMany patients look for information to answer to the questions what are advanced directives. Actually, advanced directives are special documents, which contain information about patient’s preferences and wishes as to medical care and treatment, made for the cases of inability of the patient to make medical decisions. Advanced directives are supposed to help doctors in figuring out, what kind of treatment every particular patient prefers, depending on the prognosis and difficulty of the situation: for example, in case of coma or permanent unconsciousness.

There are two types of advance directions: direct instructive and proxy. Living will belongs to the first category: it describes the kind of medical treatment an individual would prefer in case of terminal illness (when a patient has positive prognosis for less than six month) and preferences about end-of-life care, but it does not specify a person, who will make decisions for such patient in case of his physical or mental incompetence. Advance directions of the second type, like Health Care Proxy or Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care (DPACH) identify another person, who receives the rights to make decisions for a patient in case of incapacitating medical situation.

For the last 30 years all the United States of America legalized writing and using living wills and other advance directions, granting our people the right and opportunity to control their lives and die in dignity. Recently the majority of American hospitals offer their clients, especially individuals with serious illnesses, like different types of cancer or leukemia, to fill one or a number of forms of advance directions. Therefore, sick, but still competent patients of the hospitals stipulate their desirable further treatment and specify desirable ways of medical support and involvement in critical circumstances.

It is very important for everybody to know what are advanced directives, so they could write and authorize any usual type of advance directives. Undoubtedly, as opponents of advance directives say, it is very weird and extremely hard experience to write own wishes for the cases of coma or a mental disorder, especially for seriously or terminally sick people. But every individual has to understand, that by writing own wishes and specifying the decisions in advance, in case of difficult or lethal medical conditions the right not to prolong own suffering and suffering of people around, the right to die in dignity will be fulfilled

Besides, everybody must be personally responsible for own life and, till definite degree, for own death. No matter how much advanced and terminal the sickness is, an individual must not make his or her family members, close people or medical specialists of the hospital feel pressure and responsibility of making decisions in critical situations. Specifying own will and preferable approaches to further medical treatment is the way to relieve the other people form heavy burden of the necessity to decide and to rule somebody else’s living and passing away.

If there are reasons, which may not allow an individual to make up own mind to specify the best ways of necessary medical care, it is preferable to issue a proxy and select another person, who will be authorized to make relevant decisions in critical situations. This way it is possible to avoid misunderstandings and disagreements between close people about choosing, who exactly must be responsible for the decision making. Otherwise, such arguments can result with fights and end up in courts, instead of concentrating on looking for opportunities to make a sick person feel better and, possibly, recover.

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