Documents You Need To Have for Healthcare

By: Shirley Nash-Pitts
By: Shirley Nash-Pitts

Knoxville (WVLT) - Most of us never like to think about getting sick or dying. But, what if you become disabled and are unable to make decisions about your health care?

Many of us remember a case that involved removing the feeding tube from a person that was being kept alive and it became a national story. Several people scrambled to write down their own end-of-life wishes, most frequently with living wills.

There are actually three related documents that make up the most comprehensive set of advance directives:

Those three documents are:

A Living Will -Says how you want to be treated if you are not able to make your own decisions about using life-sustaining medical treatment. It can ask specifics, such as continuous medical treatment regardless of your medical condition, or request that feeding tubes be withdrawn or withheld under certain conditions.

A Health Care Proxy - Authorizes one or more people to communicate your wishes regarding end of life treatment.

A Health-Care Power Of Attorney - Authorizes an individual to communicate your medical instructions, hire and fire medical providers, access and provide your medical history, and consent to a "do not resuscitate" order.

If you split your time between two states, make sure you have forms that work in both.

Also, talk with lots of people in your family about wishes, and carrying condensed versions of your health-care proxy and living will in your wallet.

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