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Advance directive makes incapacitated patient's wishes known

When people consider the end of their life, they often think about things like how their personal property will be managed or how they might like their remains to be handled. Many do not realize that those are only part of the picture. Other aspects that Florida families may want to consider involve health-related decisions, such as whether they approve of using life support or who will make decisions for them if they are incapacitated. Experts say that an advance directive is the best way to address these concerns.

An advance directive has multiple parts. It can designate a specific person as a health care power of attorney who can make health-related decisions on behalf of the person specified. The agent can also legally sign documentation for the person he or she represents. The directive can also contain a living will, which can direct medical professionals not to keep a person alive if he or she will remain unconscious and never recover. The living will also can specify certain treatments that the person approves.

Medical professionals say that if there is no advance directive present, then any form of medical technology or treatment available will be used in an attempt to keep a patient alive. This could be counter to a patient's wishes. The directive could also contain instructions regarding who the patient would like to have with him or her at the end of life and what he or she desires in terms of a memorial or burial.

Not many people particularly enjoy discussing death, but it is a necessary task. Sometimes, the process can be a bit easier with the assistance of a professional such as an attorney. It is worthwhile for Florida families to have the discussion regarding an advance directive with their loved ones to ensure that everyone comes to a mutual understanding.

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