Healthcare directives can allow you to provide instructions on your preferences for life-saving medical care. There are many situations where an illness or injury will cause you to need medical services at a time when you are not able to communicate. A decision will have to be made regarding whether to administer or withhold care. If you have advanced directives in place, your wishes will determine how that decision gets made. If you don’t have any advanced healthcare directives, then it becomes much more difficult to determine what should happen to you.
Unsworth LaPlante, PLLC can provide you with assistance in determining the kinds of advanced directives you should create to take control over the medical care you will get in an emergency situation. Our Vermont incapacity planning lawyers will also assist you in the formal process of creating your healthcare directives so they are legally valid when you need them to be. Give us a call to find out more about the ways in which our legal team can help you to prepare in advanced in case of serious illness, injury, or incapacity.
What Kinds of Healthcare Directives Do You Need?
It is up to you what kinds of instructions you want to provide regarding medical care you’d prefer to receive or medical care that you’d prefer to decline. The more specific you are about your healthcare preferences, the less chance there is that you’ll get care you don’t want or that you will be deprived of life-saving care that you would have consented to.
The Vermont Ethics Network summarizes some of the different kinds of advanced directives that you can choose to prepare in advance if you want to have your preferences control the kinds of medical care you do, and do not, receive.
According to the Vermont Ethics Network, you have the right to provide instructions about specific care you’ll accept or decline. You also have the right to name someone who has authority to make your medical care decisions when you cannot make those decisions and haven’t expressed an advanced preference.
You can set forth specific goals and wishes for treatment under different types of circumstances. For example, you can specify that you want all extraordinary measures to be used to extend your life as long as possible under any circumstances. You could also specify you only want life-saving measures to be used to extend your life if you can communicate; if you can care for yourself; if you can be free of incapacitating pain; or if you can be conscious of your surroundings. By expressing you preferences for care under different circumstances, you can make decisions about quality of life versus quantity of life.
You can also establish clear limitations on treatment, such as refusing the use of CPR; artificial respirators; feeding tubes, and antibiotics. If you don’t want any of these extraordinary measures used under any circumstances, you can also include a DNR in your advanced healthcare directives. A DNR stands for Do Not Resuscitate. If you have a signed DNR, you won’t receive unwanted treatments in an emergency, which healthcare providers would otherwise typically be required to try to perform on you.
In addition to providing instructions about specific treatments, which can be as detailed you would like, you can also name a healthcare proxy who will act on your behalf. You can give this person broad authority to make the medical care decisions that you didn’t make in advance. Your healthcare proxy can then make care choices for you if you cannot make them on your own.
Getting Help from A Vermont Incapacity Planning Lawyer
If you do not use advanced healthcare directives and something happens to you, your fate is no longer in your hands. Instead of your own preferences determining what kinds of care you get and who will make decisions for you, someone else will get to choose for you. This could be a spouse or other close family member and sometimes it is not automatically clear who should get to make care choices. This means that a court may need to become involved so a judge can rule on who has authority to make your medical care choices.
If you have not made plans in advance, your family could find themselves uncertain of what to do for you and in a difficult position where they may be left feeling guilty if they decide to withhold lifesaving care. You don’t want to put your family in the position of making these choices without knowing what you would want. Talk with Unsworth LaPlante, PLLC today to make your incapacity plan. Give us a call at (802) 879-7133 or contact us online to get help making a personalized plan with help from a Vermont incapacity planning lawyer.