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Advanced healthcare directives

On Behalf of | Oct 5, 2022 | Elder Law |

As we age, we consider our futures more and more. What will I need in five years? What about 10 years? What if changes in my health make it harder for me to communicate? There are many questions that make you wonder, what are my options? Luckily, Pennsylvania law provides some guidance about some of these issues, including advanced directives.

Advanced directives

Advanced directives are legal documents you prepare that outline your healthcare treatment now, before you fall ill. It also names someone to make medical decisions when you cannot make those decisions. It is important to note that advanced directives only take effect when you are unable to give informed consent.

Four types of advanced directives

Pennsylvania recognizes four types of advanced directives: Living Will Declarations, Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare, Mental Care Declarations and Mental Health Power of Attorney. A living will allows you to approve or deny life-sustaining care, if you become permanently unconscious or similar. This could include procedures like CPR, respirators or dialysis.

A durable power of attorney for healthcare gives you the ability to appoint an agent to make decisions about your healthcare. Mental Health Declarations and Mental Health Power of Attorney similarly allow you to declare your decisions and appoint an agent for mental health treatments, if you are unable to make those decisions.

If you need help

Even considering one or multiple of these advanced directives is daunting. However, you do not need an advanced directive to receive care. You can use forms from the state to create these documents yourself. Unfortunately, many of these forms have legal requirements.

A compassionate Pennsylvania attorney who understands these highly sensitive and personal matters can guide you and help answer questions. An attorney well-versed in elder law and family law can assist you in the creation and maintenance of these documents. You deserve to make your healthcare decisions.