Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Advanced Healthcare Directive - 4 Reasons Why It Is a Good Idea to Get One

An advanced healthcare directive allows you to prepare a list of instructions or choose an agent so that at a future date if you are unable to take decisions about your health your wishes as per the directive can be followed. But there are more reasons why you must get an advanced directive made, 4 important ones are mentioned below.

• Improving the Quality of Life: A better understanding of the human body and the various problems that can affect it has lead to tremendous advancements in the healthcare field. While the sophisticated technology continues to save lives, it also ends up prolonging life where no recovery is possible and often leaves the patient in a vegetative or comatose state or in constant pain. In many cases the patient can be confined to nursing homes, bedridden, or require assistance of feeding tubes. Such a condition can be very burdensome for the patient both physically and mentally. In such situations a directive can help to minimize or stop any invasive treatment that may be uncomfortable and ineffective for recovery.

• Family Concerns: Any illness or accident is taxing on the patient and furthermore also affects the family and close friends. A family will not know the wishes of the patient which can lead to unending arguments and cause bitterness when deciding on the best way of treatment. This not only causes delay but also additional distress to the patient and the family. A directive made out and communicated well in advance will ensure that when the time comes the family or the appointed proxy can arrive at the decision as per the patient's wishes. Another advantage is that such a directive prepares the family beforehand especially in the case of a terminal illness or end-of-life treatment, who are then better prepared to handle the situation.

• Financial Aspect: Money will be the last thing on your mind when a loved one is unwell. But the financial aspect cannot be disregarded, in fact studies have shown that almost one-fifth of the families suffer some kind of adverse financial impact like having to quit the job or losing all their savings due to prolonged and avoidable medical treatments. When making the directive the concerned person will give due importance to the financial condition or medical insurance and accordingly instruct on the line of treatment to be followed. This helps the family to avoid superfluous spending at the cost of destabilizing themselves without attaching any guilt.

• Doctors Viewpoint: In many regions even verbal instructions are valid if witnessed by sufficient number of people, but when the time comes the doctor may be hesitant especially when it involves vital treatment or instructions for 'do not treat' or 'do not resuscitate'. An advanced directive made out on paper provides the doctor with the required immunity and ensures that your instructions are carried out without delay.

An advanced healthcare directive will ensure better implementation of your wishes and is useful to everyone involved whether it is you or your family and the doctors.

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