Not everyone knows the importance of an advance health care directive, but they should. This document is protective of you and helps you decide how you want to be treated if you get very sick and can no longer make decisions on your own behalf. It also kicks in if you’re seriously hurt and cannot make your wishes known.
The Pennsylvania Advance Health Care Directive lets you make decisions about your care. This form has three parts that you will need to fill out.
Choosing your medical advocate
The first step is to choose your advocate. Your health care agent or health care power of attorney should be a person who you trust to make decisions about your care if you can’t make them on your own. This could be your mother, father, sister, brother, spouse or another person entirely.
The agent you choose should be over the age of 18 and able to understand the treatment options with which they’re being presented in a medical emergency.
Making your own decisions
One of the greatest benefits of an advance health care directive is that you get to make decisions about your care. You choose which care you want and the kinds of care you would like to bypass. It’s up to you to decide on your care, so your loved ones won’t have to guess.
The last part of the Pennsylvania Advance Health Care Directive is where you’ll sign the form. To fill out that last section, you will need to have at least two witnesses.
Do you have to make medical decisions in advance?
No. You can allow your medical providers to make decisions without your influence. However, it’s a good idea to name someone as your medical decision-maker, so they can help the medical team understand your opinions and what you’d want. You do have the choice of only deciding on a decision-maker or only selecting your health care choices. This is something you can go over while you’re completing the document and before you have it added to your estate plan. Once it’s added, you can always update your preferences at any time.