As a primary care provider, I ask all new patients if they have end-of-life wishes or formal "Advance Medical Directives". Advanced directives are often part part of a "Living Will", but many wills only address financial issues. Advance Medical Directives are basically a legal statement regarding your personal wishes and preferences should you become incapable of making decisions about your medical care; particularly in an end-of-life situation. The most common example of this is the "Organ Donation" preference on your driver's license. Another aspect of an Advance Directive is a "Do Not Resuscitate" order (or "DNR" as we in the biz say!) for people who wish not to have CPR performed should their heart stop. Most people only think about these type of issues when they are elderly or have life threatening medical conditions, but trauma can happen to anyone at anytime. It is much better for individuals and families to clarify end-of-life wishes before the unexpected occurs; remember Terry Schiavo?
In my practice very few people (less than 10% based on my quick glance) have anything more than an Organ/Tissue Donation preference. When I remember (which isn't nearly often enough), I encourage patients, particularly those with chronic medical conditions or over age 50, to set up an Advance Medical Directive. Unfortunately, as with any legal document, completing a comprehensive and thorough Advance Medical Directive document can be a daunting task. There are several "stock paper" legal forms available, but they generally don't give meaningful guidance or clarity to end-of-life issues. For this reason, most people avoid doing so altogether because they don't have enough time or money (especially if a doctor and/or an attorney is involved). Until recently, I didn't have a convenient and affordable recommendation for people to complete an Advance Medical Directive - until discovering MyDirectives.com.
MyDirectives.com is an online service that lets anyone create a legally binding Advance Medical Directive; simply without confusing legalese, online with great user interface AND for FREE! I personally created a Directive and it was a really painless, quick process. After creating your directives, it is obviously very important to share your document (wishes) with the people whom need to know. This is where MyDirectives.com is off-the-chart cool and cutting edge. You can share your Directives in a number of ways securely online with your family, friends or medical providers. In fact, they created a special portal for our patients to complete their Directives so that they can be automatically shared with us and made part of their medical record.
If you have any complex questions about medical or legal questions about end-of-life issues, it is always wise to consult with your physician and/or attorney, but MyDirectives.com makes the initial process of creating and sharing an Advance Medical Directive very easy; and did I mention free?
W. Ryan Neuhofel, DO, MPH, "Dr. Neu", is the physician and owner of NeuCare Family Medicine in Lawrence, KS; a Direct Primary Care medical practice. He is a board-certified Family Physician (American Board of Family Medicine).
DISCLOSURE: NeuCare and Dr. Neu have no financial or business relationships with MyDirectives.com
Information contained here is intended for general health education only. All personal health and medical issues should be managed by a health professional.
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