Baxter County Advance Directives
Making Sure Our North Central Arkansas and South Central Missouri Patients
Many patients are concerned about how their medical care would change if
they become terminally ill or unable to communicate. Some do not want
to spend months or years on life-support machines or cause emotional or
financial distress for their loved ones.
An advance directive is a document signed by the individual patient that
informs other people of the person’s healthcare choices in the event
that he or she is unable to communicate. You may name another person in
advance to make choices for you if you are too sick to make them for yourself.
There are two kinds of advance directives:
- A living will
- A healthcare proxy/durable power of attorney
The Value of a Living Will
A living will is a document you use to inform other people of your wishes,
should you become unable to communicate them. If you become incurably
ill, our medical professionals and your family and friends will be able
to determine what will be the next course of action. The living will could
be used to direct doctors to not use certain medical procedures or services
that may only prolong your death. Living wills are only used if you become
permanently unconscious or terminally ill. Living wills do not require
a lawyer but you might want to talk about it with your doctor and family.
It will need to be dated, signed, and either witnessed by two people,
one of which is not related to you, or may be notarized.
Durable Power of Attorney
A durable power of attorney is a document you use to designate a person
to make medical decisions for you, should you become unable to make them
yourself. This document may also include specific instructions regarding
medical procedures that should be undergone or avoided should you become
unable to communicate. It is important that you talk about your durable
power of attorney with your doctor and family in case of emergency. It
will need to be dated, signed, and witnessed by two people, one of which
is not related to you, or may be notarized.
The living will and durable power of attorney may be combined into a single
document. BRMC has advance directive forms available and staff are available
to assist you with them.