Beyond the Advance Directive for Health Care: Why Everyone Needs a Personal Care Plan
Every adult (18 and over) needs an Advance Directive for Health Care. If you become incapacitated and unable to communicate your health care choices to your doctors, this document will give clear instructions on what you want to happen and appoints an agent to communicate your wishes to your doctors.
In Georgia’s version of this document, you will elect a primary agent and successors, just in case your primary agent is unable to act due to incapacity or death. You will give guidance on whether you want your organs donated, whether we can use your body for medical study, if an autopsy can be authorized and if you want life-sustaining measures. These are all very important decisions that need to be documented in an Advance Directive for Health Care if you are facing an end-of-life situation.
But what if you’re not facing an end-of-life situation and you are unable to communicate how you want to be cared for? The Advance Directive for Health Care won't help your family or caretakers since it gives no guidance on how you want to be cared for during your life. What if you're incompetent and unable to communicate how you want to be cared for? The Advance Directive will not tell us if you want to remain in your home or go to a facility if you need long-term care. It will not tell us the conditions in which you would want to see family and friends. The Advance Directive for Health Care will not tell us how often you want to go outside and for how long, how often you want to get your haircut, television shows that you want to watch or the foods that you would want to (or not) eat. This is where the Personal Care Plan comes in.
Unfortunately, most people think that estate planning is just about what happens when you die. Our firm takes a different approach. We believe that estate planning is also about living. If you have a condition that makes it impossible or difficult to communicate how you want to be cared for, having a Personal Care Plan in place will give your loved ones and caretakers guidance on what you want LIFE to be like if you could no longer communicate your wishes. Personal Care Plans can be as detailed (and creative) as you want them to be!
Having an Advance Directive ensures that your END-OF-LIFE wishes are documented. Having a Personal Care Plan gives guidance on how you want to LIVE! To learn more about Advance Directives for Health Care, Personal Care Plans and how they work together to protect you, register for one of our workshops or call us at (404) 267-1377 to schedule an initial consultation.