Advance Directives

Monday, April 20, 2015

Advance directives help your family and your doctors respect your health care wishes. Dr. Edward Hill tells us more about advance directives in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

Advance directives are written instructions that you prepare to help guide your medical care. They apply in certain situations, such as if you are terminally ill or severely injured. Advance directives take effect when your doctor determines that you are no longer capable of making decisions about your own medical care.

One common directive is a living will, in which you define what medical treatments you want and do not want for yourself. These treatments can include things like CPR, mechanical ventilation and feeding tubes.

Another common directive is naming a medical power of attorney. This involves choosing someone you trust to make decisions about your medical care if you cannot make those decisions.

Advance directives are not legally binding. A doctor or institution can refuse to honor your advance directives for moral or religious reasons. In many states, a doctor or facility that refuses to honor an advance directive must make an effort to transfer care. Talking with your doctor before you become seriously ill may help avoid these situations.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.