“What if I am in an accident and temporarily cannot communicate to others?”
“What if I am very sick and unable to make decisions?”
One of the most important documents a person can have in his or her plan is the Advance Directive. The Advance Directive is a document that allows you to instruct a representative of your choosing and the health care provider with the medical decisions that you would like made if you are unable to communicate your decisions.
Do you want to stay on life support?
Do you have religious beliefs that you want followed for your treatment?
Do you want to avoid tube feeding at all costs?
Now is the time to tell others what your decisions are so that they can be followed. Without and Advance Directive, your loved ones may need to file a Guardianship to make your medical decisions. This requires court fees, attorney fees, a possible court hearing, and time. Additionally, it means the person who becomes your Guardian will be making those choices for you without your guidance.
So, what is the Advance Directive exactly?
The Advance Directive is a form that was drafted by the Oregon legislature. The form includes multiple parts:
1) Appointment of a Health Care Representative and an alternate Representative to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are unable to make the decisions at the time.
2) Instructions to your Health Care Representative.
3) Instruction on how you want your Health Care Representative to make decisions about life support and tube feeding for different specific conditions, such as if you are close to death, permanently unconscious, have an advanced progressive illness, or are suffering extraordinary pain.
The Advance Directive must be signed in front of a notary or two witnesses.