ADVANCE DIRECTIVES ATTORNEYS IN DAYTON, OHIO
There are countless depictions in books, movies, and the media of families caught in the dire situation of making life-and-death decisions about loved ones unable to speak for themselves during medical crises. Many people have experienced these situations firsthand.
Luckily, there are ways to avoid these moments. Reach out to our estate planning attorneys at StachlerHarmon Attorneys at Law to discuss advance healthcare directives. If you live in Dayton, Warren, Miamisburg, or Greene, Clark, Butler, or Preble County, Ohio, let us help you make these important decisions today.
What Are Advance Directives?
Advance directives are legal documents that allow you to express your wishes for medical treatment and life-sustaining measures, as well as the appointment of the person you choose to make certain medical decisions for you. These directives inform loved ones and healthcare providers about the decisions you want them to respect.
The Ohio Living Will Declaration details the type of medical care and treatment you do and do not want to receive. The declaration speaks for you if you are terminally ill, suffer a terminal injury, or are permanently unconscious. The living will addresses such issues as resuscitation, intravenous nutrition and hydration, use of blood products, and your wishes regarding organ donation.
You should also execute a Durable Healthcare Power of Attorney. If you are not in a terminal condition or permanently unconscious but are unable to speak for yourself—or your physician has determined that you lack the capacity to make decisions—you authorize the agent you have named as your healthcare representative to make healthcare decisions for you. The power of attorney allows healthcare providers to disclose to your agent all medical information normally protected by privacy laws.
What Is a Healthcare Representative?
In Ohio, the person you name in a healthcare power of attorney is referred to as your “agent” or “attorney-in-fact.” The individual you appoint must be a competent adult, who is at least age 18. Because this person will be making critical healthcare decisions for you, be sure you name someone you trust completely to carry out your wishes.
Your agent will be able to approve or decline medical treatment and procedures, including surgical intervention and medication use. Your agent will be able to choose your healthcare providers, contract for your care, and make other such decisions you would normally make for yourself regarding your physical and mental healthcare.
If you have executed a general or durable power of attorney, authorizing an agent to make certain business and financial decisions in your stead, you also need a healthcare power of attorney. It is the only legal authorization for someone other than yourself to make decisions regarding your actual medical treatment and care.
What Is a Do Not Resuscitate Order (DNR)?
A Do Not Resuscitate Order, commonly referred to as a “DNR,” is a physician’s order prohibiting anyone from performing CPR or other lifesaving measures. This advance directive is used only by individuals who are terminal and for whom such lifesaving measures would only temporarily prolong the inevitable. A patient under hospice care, for example, would likely want their pain controlled but would not want to be resuscitated if their heart stopped. Alternatively, if you are otherwise healthy and are undergoing a surgical procedure when your heart stops, you would likely want to be resuscitated. A DNR becomes part of your medical file and follows you wherever you go.
What Are Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment?
Ohio’s Medical Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (MOLST) are referred to as Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) in many other states. These advance directives detail the measures you do and do not want taken to keep you alive.
This directive is designed to facilitate discussions between your healthcare agent, physicians, and loved ones about your wishes regarding lifesaving treatment and care when you can’t express those wishes yourself or lack the capacity to do so. The MOLST is particularly helpful when a family, caught in a highly-emotional moment, disagrees on the type of treatment you should receive.
Can I Make Changes to My Advance Directives?
You can modify your advance directives at any time, so long as you have the mental capacity to do so. Things will change throughout your life, including your health status, age, comorbidities, and the people you trust to make decisions for you. Modifying an advance directive should reflect those changes. Each revised healthcare directive should revoke all prior versions.
What is important is to craft these documents now. If you experience a car accident, stroke, or another major health event, it may be too late.
Advance Directives Attorneys in Dayton, Ohio
Drafting a living will and other advance directives may be one of the most important measures you take in your lifetime. You should prepare them with the help of experienced and compassionate estate planning attorneys. If you live in Dayton, Ohio, or the surrounding area, don’t put off preparing your advance directives. Call StachlerHarmon Attorneys at Law to schedule a consultation.