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What Are Advanced Directives? Plus, Why To Update Them Yearly

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been reading about advanced directives in the news. So what are they, and do you need them? An advanced directive is a document that will tell medical staff and family members your wishes for what YOU want in the event you have a medical emergency.

Step 1: Having The Tough Conversations

Two elder women drinking coffee and spending time togetherIf you were in an accident, hospitalized, or on a ventilator due to COVID-19 and unable to communicate, vital health care decisions would be hard to make if you are medically unwell. Before an emergency happens, it is important to sit down and have the difficult conversation with your family and loved ones about what you want. For example, do you want to be put on a ventilator, be given a transfusion, stay in the hospital, or go home?

Step 2: Getting it Down on Paper

After deciding what you want to happen, it's important to get it down on paper. An advanced directive is a legal document (however, it does NOT require an attorney to fill one out) that reviews different medical scenarios and how you would like to be treated if you become ill. It is important to choose a guardian and appoint a caretaker. These are people who have the ability to make medical decisions if you are unable to.

Step 3: Where Do You Store Them?

physical and online document storageAfter filling out the documents, having them in a safe and accessible space is crucial. Hospitals in the United States typically can store them in their EMR (electronic medical records) site. It is important to also give updated copies annually to your physician and bring them to the hospital. If you prefer to have paper copies, put them in a safe place in your house with easy access for when you are leaving in a rush. Remember to give copies to your family members as well. If you are looking to store them online, Tamvoes is an ideal online platform to store your advanced directives as family members and health professionals can easily access this document.

Step 4: Set it and Forget it

Planning for the unforeseeable future can be stressful, but the best way to be prepared is to plan in advance. Once you have the documents and plans in place, you can look forward to enjoying your life without worrying about the what-ifs.

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About the Author: Tamvoes Health

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