When a family is considering hospice care for a loved one, they may be worried about what paperwork or documentation they’ll need to get started. It’s totally normal to wonder about documentation when handling health decisions for a loved one, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. Here at Envision Hospice, our team is waiting to assist you with all of the steps involved in starting hospice care.
One of the documents we recommend in this process is called an advance directive. This document may help give some peace of mind to your loved one. It’s designed to ensure that their medical wishes are carried out, even if there comes a time when they’re unable to communicate their wishes themselves.
What is an Advance Directive?
An advance directive is a legally binding document. Its purpose is to make sure your loved one makes the important medical decisions with their medical team for themselves, while they are still of sound mind. By helping them complete this simple step now, you can empower them to maintain their wishes if they become unable to communicate due to illness or injury.
Decisions that can be recorded in this document include:
- Options about comfort, like artificially administered hydration and nutrition
- Antibiotic administration
- Use of life-sustaining treatments
- Designation of a trusted person to carry out the person’s wishes
It’s important to have a trusted family member or friend designated to carry out the wishes of your loved one. Whoever is listed should be prepared to enforce the document. Your loved one will be depending on that person, so it should be someone trustworthy and dependable, and ideally someone involved in the process of obtaining their hospice care. If there’s no designated person in place to carry out the advance directive, the role will be assigned to the patient’s next of kin. This decision needs to be put down in writing to be legally binding, and that’s where the advance directive comes in!
Now that we’ve discussed the question, “what is an advance directive?” the next thing you might be wondering is:
How do families create one?
When partnering with Envision Hospice, you don’t have to worry about having all the answers. We are here to walk with you throughout the process, including the paperwork.
Each family we partner with is teamed with a compassionate social worker. This is a person who works to ensure that you understand each document and step of the way, that you feel supported, and that you and your loved one receive the peace of mind you deserve. Your social worker can even assist you with funeral arrangements or creating a will. Developing an advance directive may bring up challenging emotions; your social worker will be available and ready to navigate these feelings and emotions with you.
These forms may look similar to Power of Attorney documents and may cover specifics about medical, financial, and other related decisions. The advance directive becomes effective when the patient is no longer able to communicate their wishes, due to either illness or injury. Remember, if there is no documentation in place, your loved one’s next of kin will be responsible for carrying out their wishes.
Now you can answer the question, “what is an advanced directive?” You know that our team at Envision Hospice is here to assist you in creating one and will help you every step of the way. The thought that your loved one may eventually be unable to communicate or make decisions for themselves can be scary. However, creating an advance directive can help put your mind at ease. An advance directive can empower your loved one to ensure their wishes are carried out.
It isn’t easy to make these decisions, but you don’t have to go through the process alone. Please contact us here anytime if you have questions about advance directives or are interested in hospice care.
If you’d like to see an example of an advance directive, click here to download one! If something looks confusing or doesn’t make sense, please reach out to our team so we can start a conversation. We are here to help, and we are honored to be on your family’s team.