Note: Before completing this Discussion, please familiarize yourself with the Week 4 Discussion 1 Rubric located in the Course Information area of the course navigation menu.
The term advance directive refers to several different types of legal documents that may be used by a patient, while competent, to record future wishes in the event the patient lacks decision-making capacity. The choice and meaning of specific advance directive terminology depends on state law. An advance directive or health care directive may combine the functions of a living will and durable power of attorney for health care into one document in one state, but may be equivalent to a living will in another state.
Through advance directives, individuals can communicate to family members and health care providers what treatment options they find acceptable or unacceptable should they become unable to make these decisions later on. As useful as these documents are, they are not always well understood by the public.
For this Discussion, you will interview someone who has not yet completed an advance directive regarding end-of-life planning. Be prepared to explain the purpose and benefit of an advance directive document. You can find your own state’s laws by going to the CaringInfo website listed in the Learning Resources.
To prepare for this Discussion, review the description of advance directives in this week’s Learning Resources. Using the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization website, download and print an advance directive form that is valid in your state.
Identify an individual you can interview in person about advance directives. This may be a friend, family member, or other acquaintance that has not yet completed an advance directive form.
Sit down with this person, and invite him or her to read the form and consider completing it. It does not matter whether the person actually does so or not. Take notes on any questions the person asks, whether he or she understands the purpose of the form, whether the person thinks the form is a useful way of dealing with future health care issues, and other key points and concerns expressed during the interview.
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