Planning In Advance For Your Advance Health Directive in Houston

Wagner, a social worker at Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch, N.J., encounters
this frustration at least once a week: A patient arrives in the emergency room
and tells the inquiring staff that yes, she has indeed prepared and signed an
advance directive. But, well, she doesn’t have it with her.

An advance healthcare directive
is a lot like a tire jack. When you get a flat, it is only useful when you
bring it with you. This means you or your loved ones really need to ensure that
the advance healthcare directive joins you on that trip to the hospital, since
it does absolutely no good sitting on the shelf or in the safe.

The frustration of a directive
left behind when it was needed is shared by family members and medical staff
alike. In fact, this subject was discussed in the New Old Age Blog in a recent article titled “Where’s That Advance Care Directive?

An advance healthcare directive
exists to serve an important purpose. Unfortunately, the loved one appointed to
make decisions cannot make them until the document is recovered or replaced, assuming
the patient has the capacity to do so. In the meantime, everyone is left in the
lurch and the very things you may have planned to avoid begin to fall into
place against your wishes all the same.

How do you avoid this? For
starters, ensure that you or a loved one keeps the document handy at all times.
In addition, provide a copy to each of your physicians and request that it be
maintained in your official medical records. Failing that, the important people
in your life should know where to get it or whom to ask for a copy. For example,
your estate planning attorney should have a hard copy in your client file.

Reference: The New York
Times – The New Old Age
(October 17, 2013) “Where’s That Advance Care Directive?

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