Overview of Health Care Directives

Author: Filip Hrga

Who needs a Health Care Directive
A need for a Health Care Directive (an “HCD”) typically arises when a person becomes incapacitated—i.e. is unable to provide consent or instructions—as a result of a physical or psychological injury. A common example is when a person is involved in a serious motor vehicle accident. The injured person may sustain life-threatening injuries and may not be conscious or able to direct their own health care treatment. This is where an HCD would prove useful.

What is a Health Care Directive
Some of you may have heard the term and wondered what is it and what it means? Well, an HCD is a legal document used in life and estate planning. An HCD enables an individual to direct their health care treatment in circumstances where he or she lacks capacity. This is typically done through a “Proxy” or “Proxies” - an individual or individuals who you give authority to provide health care directions in accordance with your wishes.

What is in a Health Care Directive
In an HCD, an individual can provide instructions to their chosen proxy or proxies—people expressly designated in the HCD—to ensure their health care desires are respected in a variety of scenarios, including:

Why are Health Care Directives Important
  • How much treatment you desire at the end of life, including whether to receive life support;
  • Whether you would like to be an organ donor;
  • Directions for health care treatment in situations of an incurable and irreversible terminal condition with a predicted short life expectancy;
  • What to do if you are diagnosed as severely and permanently impaired as a result of a serious brain injury; and
  • Other medical conditions and situations.
  • While serious health care decisions can be uncomfortable, making them ahead of time not only ensures your health care desires are known, but it also brings your loved ones peace of mind if and when these important decisions must be made.
Once an HCD is complete, we provide our clients with a number of original directives so they can provide them to trusted friends or family, their family doctor, and their local hospital. In this way, if a serious injury or accident unexpectedly occurs, your medical treatment providers and proxy(ies) will have fast access to your HCD to provide health care according to your instructions.

Contact us to help guide you
Our team is sensitive to the difficult questions and discussions that may arise and will work with you to make sure that your HCD meets your needs while respecting your personal, spiritual, and religious beliefs.

At our firm, we offer a standalone HCD for a flat fee, or, as part of our flat fee Peace of Mind Package which also includes a Will and a Power of Attorney. Our three documents are drafted in such a way, so they fit together like three puzzle pieces, providing you protection and peace of mind with respect to your physical, financial, and estate planning.

Contact us today to inquire about a HCD or Peace of Mind Package.