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What is an Advance Health Care Directive?

To tackle the question head on, an advance health care directive is a  document that will make certain that your last wishes, in other words your of end life wishes, are honored and fulfilled. The health care directive will give you the opportunity to choose someone to make decisions on your behalf when you are unable to make them. The directive will also elucidate your plans for medical treatment.

Health Care Directive


The health care directive will have all the details of what you will like to happen in a case of emergency or life threatening situation. There are four matters in question to be looked at when you are writing it down. They are:-

  • Will you like to be given artificial care like feeding tubes, respirators and others similar equipments?

  • Will you like to be given pain relief to alleviate your condition even if there is a possibility that it could quicken your death?

    [caption id="attachment_4231" align="alignright" width="210"] Health Care Directive- DNR[/caption]

  • Will you like to include a Do Not Resuscitate Order; a DNR?

  • Your wishes regarding organ donation.


Another important aspect of your health care directive is the Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care as we mentioned above. Here, you will be delegating someone you trust to execute your last wishes. This person will be responsible for carrying out and standing by to the directive and make decisions regarding medical care on your behalf. Therefore, it is crucial for you to talk in detail with this health care agent that you choose in order for him or her to know your wishes. This will give them the freedom to make choices for you that are in your best interests.



What to include in a Health Care Directive?


There are forms available for this purpose. However, it is not necessary for you to use them. You can make your own addressing the following requirements for it to be considered legal:-

  • It should be in writing where the date is clearly mentioned

  • Your name should be written.

  • Should be signed by you or by someone who is authorized by you to sign for you.

  • Your signature should be verified by a notary public and two witnesses

  • You should include the name of the health care agent you will like to make decisions on your behalf.


If you are above 18 years of age, then it is time to have a health care directive. The health care directive should be discussed with your doctor as well as given a great deal of thought. It is not something to be handled in an off hand manner.