Personal Directive

Does a Personal Directive provide direction for health care decisions?

In this article, I want to tell you about who you need to make health care decisions when you are not able of making those judgments yourself.

No one wants to become reliant on others, but the fact is it will happen to a lot of us.  Who picks when you get put into a nursing home? Who determines what nursing home? You might be the person requiring the care, or you might be the caregiver.  Anyone who has encountered these problems on either side of the condition knows how tough it is to make these decisions.

Leading you into a nursing home is normally a decision that is done by someone else.  How will they know how to get that decision without some management or knowledge about what you want?

A Personal Directive

A Personal Directive is a written, signed, dated and testified document that designates someone else to look after your individual, health concerns. Financial concerns are dealt with using a separate report, called a Power of Attorney.

A Personal Directive is also called a Health Care Directive or a Living Will (They are phrases used in various regions for the same goal).

With this document, you grant someone the power to execute health care decisions for you when you are no longer authorized to do so yourself.

This can involve decisions compared to health care, housing, and treatment.  The individual you select to make these decisions for you is called the agent.

The personal directive only affects while you are alive and terminates to be effective upon your death.

Who is the fitting person for an agent?

The absolute ‘agent’ should have the following features:

  • Understands how you would want to be treated
  • Shares your preferences about health care and quality-of-life
  • Will be ready to meet with doctors and nursing home/hospital team
  • Is comfortable dispensing with doctors and other health care providers
  • Can interact with your other family members.

Not only should you name a primitive agent but you should also designate a replacement in your Personal Directive.

Often the first option is your wife.  For an alternative, people often pick between parents (if not too elderly), siblings, or adult children.

Why should you make a Personal Directive?

The law in Alberta does not permit for another person to make decisions for you automatically – not even your spouse, interdependent adult partner or a close relative.

By creating a Personal Directive, you can get excellent control over your future personal things. It enables you to define the person(s) you want to be lawfully allowed to make decisions on your behalf if you become psychologically incompetent in the future.

A Personal Directive can also define the types of treatment or care that you do or do not need.  Be careful of being too particular.  Many specialists feel it is sensible not to specify anything.

No one understands what may happen to you and when, and no one can divine what health care would be relevant at that time.

The choices that some individuals put into health care directives (e.g., no valiant efforts to revive) are particularly challenging to understand, and therefore best avoided entirely.

What occurs if you don’t make a Personal Directive?

If you do not provide a Personal Directive that can take influence when you become psychologically damaged, family members or other involved people will have to make a Guardianship petition under the Alberta Adult Trusteeship and Guardianship Act.

This court rule can be long (it can take some months) and expensive, can result in conflicts and bad feelings between your family members and friends and may result in self-assurance being given to someone whom you might not have chosen.

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