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What is an Advance Health Care Directive, and why is it important?

There can be circumstances when health care decisions need to be made and you might, at that moment, be unable to speak for yourself. For example, if you’ve had a serious health care event, such as a stroke, accident or surgery, where due to you condition, you cannot give informed consent to medical care providers. You might be in surgery for an ailment and the doctors find an unexpected condition and need consent to perform additional medical procedures. By using an Advance Health Care Directive, you can designate an agent or agents to be able to make decisions for you.

You may be familiar with the term “Living Will”--where you express your wishes about the extent of end of life care and the extent of heroic efforts that should be used to keep you alive. An Advance Health Care Directive can express those wishes when you cannot.

The selection of your agent for health care decisions, and any alternates should be carefully considered.


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