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Advanced Health Care Directive – How to record your choices for medical treatment in the event of incapacitation.

The other day we received a phone call from a Marion, a close friend of ours. She called to let us know that her elderly mother was going into hospital for a knee replacement.

At 87, her mum was concerned about what might happen if something went wrong during the operation.  She wanted to make sure she had a way to inform her family and the medical staff of her choices for medical treatment should it become necessary.

Marion couldn’t find such a document and she didn’t know where to look. We did some research and identified a document called an Advanced Health Care Directive. We called her back and let her know that…

An advanced health care directive differs from a Power of Attorney and Enduring Guardian in that Mother’s wishes or directions regarding her future health care are directly stated on a document that can be accessed by doctors prior to treatment. No guardian or attorney is appointed under this instrument.

She can list the medical treatments that she considers acceptable or desirable for different types of medical conditions, or whilst she is in various stages of illness. This will give her confidence that her wishes will be carried out if she can’t speak for herself.

As mothers Enduring Guardian, you and your sister could also hold a copy of the advance health care directive so you are informed of her wishes in the event that you have to make some tough decisions on her behalf if and when the time comes.

For more Information go to Making An Advance Care Directive NSW or search for your state.