What is a medical directive?

Also known as an advanced directive, or patient advocate form, this document allows you to name someone you trust (your advocate) to make your medical decisions if you are rendered incapable of making your own.  The document allows your advocate to both request and refuse treatment when invoked and can include a provision allowing your advocate to sign a “do not resuscitate order” or as it’s commonly known “pull the plug.”

Medical authorities will ask if you have an advance directive and honor your wishes if you do. By providing your doctor with a copy of your medical directive it can be added to your electronic medical records and thus made accessible to all medical personnel.

A medical directive is different from a will or power of attorney.  A will states who receives your assets when you die.  A power of attorney names the person, or persons, you trust to handle your financial affairs while you’re alive.  When getting your “affairs in order” these are some of the legal documents that should be created.

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