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Understanding the Various Advance Directives

Advance directives are legal documents that allow people to detail the type of care they do and do not want if they are incapacitated and unable to make their wishes known. There are several types of advance directives and the names may vary by region. According to Toronto senior care professionals, the most common types are the instructional directive and the proxy directive. Sometimes these directives are combined in a single form, but they serve very different purposes. It may be a good idea for your senior loved one to prepare both to make sure all wishes are known and recognized.

Proxy Directive

A proxy directive, also known as a durable power of attorney, is a document that allows your loved one to appoint a health care proxy who will make necessary healthcare decisions on his or her behalf if he or she is not capable of making them.

Your loved one can give the health care agent as little or as much power as desired, and the proxy will generally be allowed to hire or fire medical personnel, make decisions about a treatment facility, gain access to medical records, get court authorization when necessary, and consent or refuse consent to most types of medical treatment.

Instructional Directive

An instructional directive, also known as a living will, only takes effect when there is no hope for recovery, such as if your loved one has a terminal illness or is brain dead. This written statement is used to detail the types of life-prolonging measures he or she does or does not want. A living will can be broad or very detailed, and it may cover very specific healthcare issues like a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order. A living will may also cover the following aspects of care:

  • CPR
  • Dialysis
  • Use of a respirator
  • Life-saving surgery
  • IV feeding
  • Palliative care

When making long-term plans, be sure to discuss the possibility of in-home care. Even if your loved one doesn’t need assistance as the moment, having a plan in place can prevent stress and frustration in the future. To learn more, reach out to Home Care Assistance at (416) 488-8777. We provide live-in, hourly, and respite care in Toronto and would be happy to answer any questions or address any concerns you may have. Give us a call today. We are here to help.