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Understanding the different types of advance medical directives

On Behalf of | Feb 5, 2020 | Estate Planning |

Many Coloradans planning for the future gravitate toward finances. They rightfully want to ensure their loved ones are properly supported and their legacy protected. This is only one piece of proper estate planning, however.

You also need to consider your health, and how you would prefer to be cared for in certain situations. To account for this, you need some type of advance medical directive. Here are some of the most common ways people choose to make their wishes known.

Medical durable power of attorney

With a medical durable power of attorney, an individual can name someone to be their health care agent. This health care agent takes on the responsibility of making health care decisions for that individual, should they be unable to.

The health care agent does not have full freedom. They are required to follow the wishes and requests the individual has laid out. In addition, the creator can restrict the scope as much as they so choose.

Living will

A living will specifically addresses the use of artificial life support measures should an individual become unable to communicate for themselves. A person can specify whether they consent to the use of treatments such as:

  • A ventilator or other breathing machine
  • A dialysis machine
  • A feeding tube

A living will only takes effect upon an individual’s incapacitation, and if two doctors agree that the individual will not recover or is in a persistent vegetative state.

CPR directive

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation – better known as CPR – is used on an individual if their heart stops or they are no longer breathing. With a CPR directive, a person is able to explicitly state whether they do or do not want medical professionals to attempt CPR in those situations.

MOST form

MOST stands for “medical orders for scope of treatment.” This type of advance medical directive is often used by those who are dealing with a serious, chronic ailment. With a MOST form, a person can lay out detailed instructions to health care providers about which types of treatment they may attempt, and which ones they should avoid.

No matter where an individual goes, care professionals should honor these directions.

A big-picture approach

These different advance medical directives all do slightly different things. Yet they may potentially interact with one another, causing uncertainty should there be dissonance. For this reason, it is vital to not only ensure all of your forms are updated, but that each remains legally sound and able to offer the type of concise direction you are seeking.