It can be painful to think about potential end-of-life scenarios in which you cannot make your own medical decisions. However, making your wishes known long before you become incapacitated may prevent your loved ones from having to make those difficult choices on their own.
It is also important that your health care providers understand your preferences. In Texas, an Advance Directive to Physicians allows you to clearly document what types of end-of-life treatments you do or do not want to receive if your condition prevents you from communicating.
What does a physician directive cover?
Advance directives specifically cover terminal medical situations in which you would not be able to survive without certain life-sustaining treatments.
You may choose to accept all medically reasonable options to prevent death, or you may prefer not to any receive life-sustaining care if your condition is irreversible.
You may also list specific treatments that you do not want, such as tube feeding, mechanical respiration or kidney dialysis. In such an end-of-life situation, caregivers would still provide comfort care and pain management.
If you have not already named someone you trust to carry out Medical Power of Attorney, you may use your directive to designate a spokesperson to make health care decisions on your behalf.
How long does a physician directive last?
Once you execute an advance directive, it remains in effect until you revoke it. Whether you have new reservations about potentially invasive treatments or your health outlook has changed, you may create a new directive whenever you wish.