The Advanced Healthcare Directive serves two functions. First, if unable to make medical decisions for yourself, this document authorizes your chosen agent to make important medical decisions on your behalf while following your stated wishes and guidelines for care. These decisions include decisions about surgery and life sustaining measures (i.e., the termination of food, water, and life support). Often it is difficult to have conversations with family members about end of life decisions, and without this document the family may disagree about the appropriate action to take Having end of life decisions documented in advance helps reduce the stress and pressure on the family to make the appropriate decision, and helps ensure that a person’s wishes are implemented. Second, this document appoints a chosen agent to make other healthcare-related decisions that may not be specifically addressed in the directive. Therefore, if something unexpected occurs, you will have designated the appropriate person to make any unforeseen healthcare-related decisions on your behalf.
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