Being a child of the 90s, I saw a lot of TV commercials during my youth. One particular advertisement that stands out in my memory is the "It's 10 o'clock. Do you know where your children are?" commercial. Even now, at 10 pm, this commercial still manages to pop into my thoughts. While I recognize that Advance Directives might not hold the same significance as monitoring the whereabouts of your children, they undeniably carry considerable importance as legal documents. In moments of crisis, an Advance Directive plays a crucial role in ensuring that your healthcare preferences are upheld.
An Advance Directive functions as a legal instrument wherein you articulate your preferences regarding future medical treatment. This includes outlining the medical interventions you wish to receive and those you'd prefer to avoid. Additionally, you'll designate an individual to act on your behalf in situations where you cannot make decisions for yourself. In the state of Michigan, this individual assumes the title of the Patient Advocate. Completing the form generally takes around 1-2 hours, and it requires the signatures of two witnesses.
However, the mere completion of your Advance Directive doesn't guarantee perpetual security. Its effectiveness during emergencies hinges on the accessibility of the documents. Many individuals store their Advance Directives in file cabinets or safes, which are not optimal locations for swift retrieval. In the absence of immediate access to your Advance Directive during an emergency, medical professionals might resort to life-extending measures or consult your legal next of kin for decisions. This holds particularly true if your designated patient advocate isn't legally recognized as your next of kin.
To bolster the likelihood of your Advance Directive being employed as intended, adopt measures to ensure its speedy retrieval during critical moments. Familiarize your chosen Patient Advocate with its contents and provide them with a copy. Duplicate copies of the document should be kept in your car, affixed to your refrigerator, and stored on your phone. By implementing these steps, you'll guarantee the existence of multiple easily locatable copies.
Maintaining the effectiveness of your Advance Directive necessitates periodic revisitation and updates, ideally every few years. This practice facilitates the adjustment or review of your healthcare decisions, as well as any changes pertaining to your chosen Patient Advocate. Allocating time to assess your Advance Directive ensures its currency, ultimately guaranteeing that your wishes are honored in times of crisis. So "It's 10 o'clock. Do you know where your Advance Directive is?"