Advanced directives are healthcare related plans we make in case there is ever a time we are not able to speak for ourselves. The most common advanced directives are the Healthcare Power of Attorney and the Living Will. For terminally ill patients, the Five Wishes is an excellent option for your advanced directives.
The Five Wishes is broken up into the following five sections:
The first section is the Healthcare Power of Attorney, also known as a surrogate or agent. This is someone we name to speak on our behalf if we cannot speak for ourselves. We should name someone who knows our wishes with regard to our care and who will act in our best interest. The Healthcare Power of Attorney does not cover financial matters or go into effect as soon as it is signed, as a Durable Power of Attorney does. Our Healthcare Power of Attorney is only able to act on our behalf once we are unable to speak or are no longer mentally able to make decisions. When choosing this person, it is important to have a discussion about what treatments, services, etc, we would want.
The second section is the Living Will. This section has us define what life sustaining treatment means to us. It then asks us to use that definition to determine whether we would want life sustaining treatment if we were in several situations where we were not anticipated to survive. Again, this is an important part of the discussion we should be having with our loved ones and the person we name as Healthcare Power of Attorney.
The third section is about comfort and what that means to us.
The fourth section is about how we want to be treated. These two sections allow our loved ones and caregivers to know what will make us feel best and things that we do not want to happen.
The fifth section is about passing on our values. It is a place for us to put into words those things that may be hard to say, but that we want our loved ones to know are important to us.
The Five Wishes is an excellent option for those facing terminal or chronic illness. It is written in plain language and is easy to understand. It is legal in all 50 states and does not require a lawyer to complete. It only needs to be witness and notarized to be considered legal. The original conversation may be difficult, but the peace of mind is immeasurable.
If you would like to receive a free Five Wishes Advance Directive, please contact us by calling 1-800-932-2738.