Law for Older Americans

Health Care Advance Directives

Why can't I just tell my doctor what I want?

Telling your doctor and others what you want is essential. Effective planning requires this continuing conversation among doctor, patient, and loved ones.

If you don't complete a written directive, conversations provide important evidence of your wishes to help guide decisions later on, especially if your doctor records your wishes in your medical record. In a few states, oral instructions, if properly recorded by the doctor, can have the same legal standing as a written advance directive.

However, both legally and practically, it is far better to do a written advance directive. The written advance directive will carry more weight and is more likely to be followed, especially if it supports and affirms your continuing conversation.

>>What is a health care advance directive?
>>How do you plan a health care advance directive?
>>Is a health care advance directive the same as a living will?
>>Why can't I just tell my doctor what I want?
>>Will doctors and hospitals recognize my advance directive?
>>What is the Patient Self-Determination Act?
>>How do you write an advance directive?
>>What kinds of decisions does a health-care agent make?
>>How do you select a health-care agent?
>>Are there any formalities of signing an advance directive?
>>Can you change or terminate your advance directive?
>>Where should you keep the directive?
>>When should you review your advance directive?
>>Is an advance directive still good when you cross state lines?


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