What is an advance directive?
An advance directive is a legal document that clearly states how you want to be medically cared for if you can no longer speak or act for yourself because of accident or illness. You can also designate someone to make decisions about your health care if you’re not able to make them. Under the law, there are two types of advance directives:
What is an Advance Care Plan?
An advance care plan is essentially a document that expresses your desires as to end-of-life care and instructs medical providers what forms of treatment should and should not be undertaken. Under the Tennessee Right to Natural Death Act, you have the right to decide if you want to be kept alive by machines and for how long.
Why do I need an advance directive?
Advance care planning is not just about old age. At any age, a medical crisis could leave you too ill to make your own healthcare decisions. Even if you are not sick now, planning for health care in the future is an important step toward making sure you get the medical care you would want. By putting your wishes in writing, you are taking steps to make sure you remain in control of your future – no matter what the future holds. And since you’ve already specified your wishes about your medical care, you’ve lifted a heavy decision-making burden off your loved ones.
What is an Appointment of a Healthcare Agent?
The Tennessee Appointment of Health Care Agent law (formerly called the Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare) lets you name another person to make medical decisions for you if become too incapacitated or sick to make your own. Your illness can be temporary and this person may only act temporarily as your agent or you may have a more long term or life threatening illness in which this person may even make end of life decisions on your behalf. Make sure you choose a person you trust.
Meredith Silva is an experienced elder law attorney who can assist you with advance care plans, advance directives, and appointments of a healthcare agent.
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