Advance Directive Overview

Making an Advance Directive
What happens when an individual becomes too ill to make his or her own medical decisions? Someone must decide when to begin or not begin treatment, or when to stop it. Family members and doctors usually make decisions when the patient cannot. Sometimes they are not sure what is best. Sometimes they disagree. That's when it would be good to know what the patient would have wanted and whom the patient would have wanted to make these decisions. That's why it will help your family, close friends and physicians if you have completed an Advance Health Care Directive. If you have made your wishes clear, they are more likely to be followed.
What is an Advance Directive?
An Advance Health Care Directive is a verbal or written instruction that tells your family and health care team what you want done in case you have a serious injury or illness and are not able to speak for yourself.
For more information about Advance Directives, go to the Biller Resource Center to pick up the educational booklet Making an Advance Directive or ask to speak to a clinical Social Worker.
Benefits of completing an advance healthcare directive include:
  • Ensuring that your family, caregiver, friends and medical team are aware of your healthcare preferences
  • Allows you to determine your values, goals and quality of life
  • Ensures that your decisions are respected
  • Research shows that patients and their families report significantly less stress, anxiety and depression when an advance directive is in place
  • Frees your loved ones from the pressures of having to make critical medical care decisions for you under stressful or emotional situations.