Many people do not want to think of themselves as suffering incapacitation due to an injury or mental illness. However, if something did happen, it is important to plan ahead so the medical team can take care of you the way you would want.

An advance healthcare directive outlines specific health care decisions so there is no question as to how treatment should proceed.

Choose a power of attorney

According to the State of California Department of Justice Attorney General, a power of attorney for healthcare is the individual who is in charge of making sure the medical team follows the healthcare directive. If there is no directive, the POA will make the medical decisions when necessary.

The Mayo Clinic outlines some considerations when choosing a power of attorney. This person should be able to follow the directions even if not in full agreement or the family is wishing for something different. This person should also be comfortable discussing tough decisions regarding end-of-life issues.

Care decisions to consider

A major part of making a healthcare directive is to consider and decide what type of care one would want. Some things to consider include

       Use of feeding tube or ventilation

       Resuscitation via CPR or defibrillation

       Use of antiviral meds or antibiotics to treat infections

       Types of comfort care such as pain medication, invasive treatment, ice chips or hospice care

       Donation of tissues, organs or body

Even without an advance healthcare directive, one can leave orders for do not intubate or do not resuscitate. A doctor can place these in the medical record for future reference.