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What are Advance Directives?
Jun 16, 2023

What are Advance Directives?

If it’s time for your loved one to begin thinking of the care they wish to receive at the end of their life, Shiloh Hospice is ready to support you through every stage of the journey. Our role is to ensure your loved one receives care that aligns with their preferences, so we work closely with both you and the patient to meet their needs. Advance directives are essential to providing a patient’s end-of-life care, since these documents inform us of the patient’s wishes. Below, we uncover the purpose behind advance directives and how to create a plan.  

What Are Advance Directives?

An advance directive is a written statement describing how a person wants to receive, or not receive, health care when they are incapacitated. These wishes are officially stated through legal documents, including a living will and a healthcare proxy. Advance directives identify a person who will be authorized to make decisions on the patient’s behalf if they are unable to communicate their preferences when those choices need to be made. 

By establishing an advance directive, people can actively decide on the type and level of care they’ll receive when they approach the end of life. It’s never easy to think about what your wishes may be, but it’s the only way to ensure you can communicate them to those who will uphold them. Not only will you have peace of mind, but so will your loved ones. 

What Is Advance Care Planning?

Advance care planning ensures your wishes regarding end-of-life care are honored should you no longer be able to communicate those needs on your own. While it’s not an easy topic to think about, the initial discomfort leads to reassurance as you are able to actively decide the type of care you’ll receive. 

Follow these three main steps when navigating the advance care planning process: 

  • Think about what kind of care you’d like to receive and who you want to fulfill those wishes.
  • Discuss your wishes with those who are most important to you and will be involved in carrying out your decisions, such as your primary healthcare provider.
  • Document your decisions and give copies to those who need them. 

Ideally, you will complete all three steps, but even just discussing your wishes with your loved ones and healthcare provider is an excellent choice. Even though it isn’t a simple topic to tackle, you will not regret having this discussion. 

Why Do I Need an Advance Directive?

With an advance directive, you will make sure everyone involved in your end-of-life care knows how to respond to your needs. Informing your loved ones, family and healthcare providers of your wishes is reassuring: you’ll feel at ease knowing your goals will be understood and carried out if you cannot communicate them on your own. 

Talk to a Compassionate Hospice Care Team

Shiloh Hospice understands that discussing advance care directives can be challenging for many reasons. Taking the first step makes it possible to ensure your wishes are heard, honored and supported when the time for end-of-life care arrives. Our team will be there for you when you need us. 




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