Do You Have Advance Directives?
SelectCare offers a wide variety of home health care services to our clients throughout New York City, ranging from occasional assistance around the home to around-the-clock nursing services for people experiencing major illnesses.
During every client’s free in-home health and safety assessment, Selectcare’s RN Field Nurse Supervisors cover an extensive list of health topics with their new patient, not only discussing a client’s current medical and social needs, but also beginning important conversations about the patient’s future, including plans for Advance Directives.
With National Healthcare Decision Day just a few weeks away, SelectCare wanted to provide readers with additional Advance Directive resources. Although it can seem like a morbid subject, this is an important issue for people of all ages, and view Advance Directives as just another part of patient protection – ensuring the independence of our clients at every stage of their lives.
It’s important to remember that anyone 18 or older, regardless of their current health, can and should have Advance Directives in place. These documents should be reviewed at least once every five years to ensure they have accurate contact information for your health care proxy and represent your current medical wishes.
In New York State, the term “Advance Directives” covers a long list of medical and social decisions that could arise during a future hospital stay and ensures your wishes are followed in the event you cannot speak for yourself. These decisions cover everything from whether or not you would like to be brought to a hospital or kept at home, what type of medical procedures can be performed on you (like the use of a feeding tube or ventilator), and, in the event you are not expected to survive, whether family members or a member of the clergy should be brought to your side.
In New York State, there are three major categories of Advance Directives:
1 – New York State Health Care Proxy: This document allows you to name a health care agent, someone who will make medical decisions for you if two doctors decide you are unable to make choices for yourself. This directive requires a specific form be completed and copies given out to your family and physician.
2 – Living Will: This directive describes the specific medical care you want or refuse if you are diagnosed with a terminal condition but cannot voice your desires. While there is no specific document for this directive, the MOLST (Medical Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment) form is very comprehensive and widely recognized.
3 – Do Not Resuscitate (DNR): This is the shortest of the directives and simply tells hospital workers or emergency responders not to revive you if you stop breathing or your heart stops. This form goes into effect as soon as it is signed by your doctor, but must be reconfirmed every 90 days.
While many people discuss end-of-life decisions with their loved ones, SelectCare urges everyone to ultimately put these decisions into writing. By writing down your decisions, you can minimize confusion and stress amongst your family during what is surely an already trying time. This is especially true if your end-of-life choices have only been discussed with a small portion of your family.
SelectCare’s staff is well-versed with these documents and is always ready to answer any questions you might have about these forms, but we also respect the privacy of our patients and urge anyone who wishes to learn more about these topics independently to visit Compassion and Support, which offers comprehensive, line-by-line explanations of these documents.
If you or a loved one have any questions about Advance Directives, home care or wish to learn more about our free, in home health and safety assessments, call us today.