Normally, as a VA patient, you have opportunities to speak with your doctor and make choices about your healthcare. However, what do you do when your illness makes it impossible for you to make your decisions about your treatment known?
An advance directive answers the questions when you cannot answer the questions yourself. Who do you want to make decisions for you? What type of care do you want? What kind of treatments would you not want? Without an advanced directive you may not be the one providing the answers.
What an advance directive does is provide a legal form that communicates to your healthcare team when you are not able to. An advanced directive protects your right to make your own choices about your health and ensures your providers, family and friends respect your wishes.
Whether young or old, healthy or sick; no one can predict when something may happen in life that will leave you unable to speak for yourself about the care you want and who you want to speak for you. Speak with your Patient Aligned Care Team (PACT), which includes your primary care doctor, nurse, health tech and social worker.
For more information about Advanced Directives visit http://www.butler.va.gov/patients/advance.asp