An advance directive is an important healthcare tool all patients should have, but for patients in hospice care, this instructional document is vital. If you have a loved one entering in-home hospice care and they do not have an advance directive, learn more about this document and why it is important.
Legally Binding Record
One of the most important factors to remember about an advance directive is that it is a legally binding record. From the healthcare workers that will take care of your loved one during their hospice care to a court that could rule over medical authorization concerns, the details in the advance directive will be the rule of law.
Provided your loved one is legally deemed competent, the instructions they detail in their directive cannot be overlooked or altered without the patient's explicit consent. In end-of-life care, respecting the patient's will is the greatest form of respect and independence, so having this document in place is critically important.
In end-of-life care, there are sometimes decisions that must be made that the patient may not have the capacity to determine. An advance directive is an essential tool for these scenarios because it establishes a designee who essentially serves as a power of attorney authorized to make medical decisions on behalf of the patient.
These decisions could range from a decision to move the patient from palliative care in a medical facility to hospice care in their home to authorization to perform a medical procedure necessary to improve the patient's comfort. Similar to the directive itself, the designee cannot be changed without the patient's request.
Quality of Life Directions
One of the more sensitive but important elements involved with the advance directive process is the quality-of-life directions. Within the directive, the patient must decide what resuscitation orders they want in place. Patients who want all processes exercised to sustain their life can include these details, along with those who do not want these rescission practices exercised, in the form of a do not resuscitate order or DNR.
Only the patient should make this decision, but it may be helpful to sit down with your loved one and a hospice provider to learn about the risks that might be involved in resuscitation applications to determine what is best for their quality of life.
For assistance with helping your loved one establish an advance directive, speak with a hospice care professional.
Contact a local company like Hospice of Odessa for more info.