Advance healthcare directives do seem simple enough, but people too often make the mistake of not looking closely into the matter. They mostly want to know about the types of advance directives and their differences.
However, you should also inquire about why advance directives are so important, if a lawyer must compose an advance directive, and what exactly is durable power of attorney for healthcare. However, let us first see about the different types of advance healthcare directives in California, whether they expire, and just what a DNR is.
What are the 3 types of advance directives?
Sometimes, depending on the state, the type of document that can be considered an advance directive differs. That is why we’re going to focus on the three main types of advance directives for the state of California. There are actually four types, but more on that later.
When it comes to advance directives, it is usually a name that stands for any document that can serve the purpose of providing an individual an opportunity to make decisions relating to his or her health even when physically or mentally incapacitated. In California, there are three main types of advance directives – durable power of attorney for healthcare, living will, and organ donation card.
There is usually a fourth type of advance directive called “do not resuscitate” orders, but it is a bit more complicated to explain, so, as said before, more on that later. Now that you know what the three main types of advance directives are, you’re probably wondering why there is more than one type of advance directives?
Why are there several types of advance directives?
As you might have guessed on your own, there wouldn’t be three different types if they didn’t serve a different purpose. Well, the purpose is the same, but the manner in which these different advance directive types serve that purpose differs.
Let’s take living wills and durable power of attorney as an example. Both of these documents serve the same purpose – helping an individual retain control over his or her medical treatment if ever unable to state so on his own.
However, while power of attorney for healthcare means giving another person power to make healthcare decisions in your stead, living will does it a bit differently. You see, living wills specify how you would or wouldn’t like to be medically treated, and outline the most important decisions to be made regarding your health.
So, although different types of advance directives exist to help an ill individual to have control over his medical condition in any eventuality, they do so in different ways. And, depending on your wishes, you may choose one type, or another.
Do advance directives expire?
There wouldn’t be much of a point to advance directives if they had an expiration date, nor would the National Institute on Aging strongly suggest having an advance directive in place, just in case. No, advance directives most certainly do not expire. Once you’ve created one, that’s it.
And that’s the whole point of an advance directive – you’re planning ahead for a time you might not be in the best physical or mental capacity to make sound decisions regarding your wellbeing. That is why, once you’ve created an advance directive, it will last until you have revoked it or have passed on.
However, there is one problem individuals identify with this, and that’s whether or not they are able, if they’ve changed their mind about something, to make changes to their advance directives.
How can I change my advance directive?
It is a logical questions. These documents don’t expire, so what happens if I’ve decided on making the same changes to my advance directive? How can I do so, and can I do so at all? Are the mistakes I might have made set in stone, without the possibility for alterations?
No, it’s nowhere near as drastic as that. Advance directives last for as long as you need or want them to. No, they do not expire, but that doesn’t mean they are impervious to any changes. Once you decide you would like to alter your directive, do so, and the previous document immediately becomes invalid. You can be at ease knowing that you correct any potential mistakes.
However, we would like to note just one thing. In order to minimize any potential mistakes when writing your advance directive, whichever one you choose, it is always best to ask for legal help. It is in no way obligatory, but always preferable.
Is DNR an advance directive?
As we’ve said, do not resuscitate, or DNR for short, is and, at the same time, isn’t an advance healthcare directive. The easiest way to explain is to say that it is, most often, a part of an advance directive, and not an advance directive in itself.
To make the issue clearer, the “do not resuscitate” order is becoming more and more prominent mainly due to wishes of patients suffering from terminal illnesses. It is because of that fact that the DNR section can be found in almost every advance directive.
DNR refers to reactions of hospital staff if the patient has stopped breathing. It specifies whether or not a patient wants to be administered CPR, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or not.
The DNR order can either be positive, in which case the patient does not want any attempts at restarting the cardiovascular system made, or negative, in which case the patient does want the doctors to make attempts at saving his life. Although not quite an advance directive, DNR is an essential part of one.
Who can help my write my advance healthcare directive?
If you’ve reached the decision of drafting an advance directive, in order to never lose control of your wellbeing, and you’d like some help writing it, then the Law Offices of Irina Sherbak are the right place for you.
The lawyers who work at this legal office are the best when it comes to all matters concerning advance directives, and they are always willing to help. So, next time you’re pondering a walk down Mission Beach in San Diego, take a walk to our office instead. We’ll be more than happy to help you.