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The importance of having an advanced directive

End of life planning is an important task that many people in New York tend to neglect. Some of them do not realize that they do not need to be dying or disabled to benefit from having an advanced directive. Thinking ahead and preparing for the time(s) when they may be unable to care for themselves or make important decisions regarding their medical care can help to ensure that their preferences are known by their friends, family members and medical care providers. 

Here are some reasons why having an advanced directive is important. 

Preserves quality of life 

Not all medical treatment recommendations are desirable to patients. Feeding tubes, resuscitation, life support and organ donation are just a few of the many medical procedures that some people do not want. Incapacitated patients may have expressed their wishes to their loved ones prior to becoming ill or disabled. But that is not enough to stop their family members from making decisions about their care and lives that they may not agree with. Patients who have advanced directives can dictate their quality of life and care even if their loved ones are against them. It gives them “a voice to speak for themselves" when they are physically incapable of doing so, states eMedicineHealth.

Offers family members guidance 

It is not uncommon for family members to bicker and argue amongst themselves over the care they want their incapacitated loved ones to receive. According to the Center for Advancing Health, “an advanced directive can provide loved ones with the guidance, support and comfort they need” while they are trying to come to terms with a relative's serious illness or injury. 

Advanced directives can help ease the burden and turmoil of making critical medical decisions. Careful consideration should be given to personal preferences regarding medical care. Individuals should also review and update their advanced directives every few years to ensure they accurately reflect their current preferences.

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