If you ever become incapacitated and unable to make your own medical decisions, then it’s up to your family or doctor to make these difficult decisions on your behalf. This is why it’s so important for everyone to set up advance directives, regardless of age or health.
Curious to learn more about these important legal documents? This quick guide shares everything you need to know about how advance directives work in Tampa:
What exactly are advance directives?
Advance directives are legal documents that set forth a person’s wishes regarding medical treatment in the event they become incapacitated or unable to communicate their wishes.
By setting forth your preferences in a legal document, you can help your family avoid having to make difficult decisions. It can also help avoid disputes, especially regarding decisions to use life support or whether resuscitation efforts should be made. If you have specific medical preferences due to religion or lifestyle, these preferences can also be outlined.
The different types of advance directives in Tampa
The state of Florida recognizes three types of advance directives: living wills, health care surrogate designations, and anatomical donation documents. You can create all three types of advance directives, but this isn’t always necessary.
Living wills spell out the kind of medical treatments that should be used when a person is dying or in a vegetative state. In Tampa (and throughout Florida), you’ll need two witnesses to create a living will, and one cannot be your spouse or blood relative.
This document typically includes:
- The use of life support, dialysis, and tube-feeding.
- Whether life-saving efforts should be made if the person’s heart stops.
- If the person wishes to donate their organs or tissue after death.
- Whether blood transfusions should be performed.
- Which surgeries or procedures are preferred over others.
Health care surrogate designation
A health care surrogate designation allows you to name a person who will make medical decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. Rather than outlining all of your specific wishes in a living will, you can instead give this person the power to make decisions when needed.
When designating a health care surrogate, you can set forth limitations on what they can decide. Setting up this legal document also requires two witnesses, with one being someone who is not your spouse or blood relative.
Anatomical donation document
The purpose of this document is to indicate which parts of your body you’d like to donate upon death, and how they are to be donated (to research, to a patient in need, etc.). However, you can also set forth these wishes in a living will.
How are advance directives implemented?
Upon admission to a hospital for a serious illness, your health care providers will likely ask whether you have a living will or other advance directives. From there, they will review your documents and develop a treatment plan in accordance with your wishes.
It’s important to ensure your close family members or friends have a copy of your advance directives. In the event you are hospitalized unexpectedly, then your loved ones can provide a copy of these documents to your doctors.
Speak with an attorney about setting up your advance directives in Tampa
When the unthinkable occurs, having advance directives can ensure your medical wishes are respected, and they can eliminate confusion for your loved ones. Contact Candela Law Firm today to speak with our attorney about getting your affairs in order. We can set up your living will, help you name a health care surrogate, and more.