Posts Tagged ‘Kansas City Elder Law Attorneys’

Kansas City Elder Law Attorneys Answer Frequently Asked Questions about Health Care Advance Directives

Thursday, November 30th, 2017

The goal of an elder law attorney is to help meet the needs of older persons. One such need is advance care planning. Advance care planning is a term that refers to setting in place goals and plans concerning an individual’s medical care and treatments. While many people do not start to think about advance care planning until they are near retirement age, the process can begin at any point in a person’s life. Advanced care planning usually starts with conversations between the individual and his or her family and doctors. Health care advance directives are one way individuals can make their healthcare wishes known. An advance directive is simply a document that provides instructions about a person’s health care wishes, or that appoints a specific person to make decisions on one’s behalf if or when the person is no longer able to do so. While advance directives are great tools that does not mean that they are well understood. The following are some of the most frequently asked questions about health care advance directives:

Does an advance directive simply mean “do not treat”?

No! The purpose of an advance directive is to specify which treatments or steps that you want taken in addition to those that you want. For example, an elderly patient with an advanced stage illness may not want treatment but should be given palliative care. Palliative care is medical care that is focused on keeping the person comfortable and pain-free.

I am only ___ years old, am I too young to consider an advance directive?

No! While it is true that older adults utilize advance directives more than younger adults, every adult can benefit from having an advance directive. In fact, younger adults often have more at stake. For example, if a younger adult is involved in a serious accident, leaving him or her in a vegetative state, current medical technology could keep him or her “alive” for decades. Younger adults should consider an advance directive or at least appoint a proxy decision-maker.

Can I rest easy once I give a copy of my advance directive to my doctor?

No! In fact, the process has just begun. First, it is important to discuss your advance directive with your doctor to make sure that he or she supports and understands your wishes. Also be sure that you understand from your doctor your health options. Next, be aware that if you transfer doctors or healthcare facilities, your directive will likely not follow you. It is your job or that of your proxy to be sure that each facility and doctor is made aware of any advance directives. You will also want to review your directive if you experience any of the following: (1) death of a loved one; (2) divorce; (3) a new diagnosis or medical condition; (4) decline in medical condition; or (5) reach a new decade in age.

Part of responsible estate planning should always include a living will and an advanced directive. If you or your loved has not made his or her wishes official, consider making an appointment to discuss your options with an experienced Kansas City Elder Law Attorney. The Kansas City Elder Law Attorneys at Hubbard & Kurtz, L.L.P. have helped countless individuals create estate plans, advanced directives, and living wills. Our attorneys assist clients in both Kansas and Missouri. To find out how the attorneys at Hubbard & Kurtz, L.L.P. can help you, contact our office at (816) 472-4673 to schedule a consultation. At Hubbard & Kurtz, L.L.P. we will take the time to make sure that you understand your options and that your wishes are met.