Advanced Health Care Directives
It is often difficult for individuals to think about the type of care and treatment they want in the event they are incapable of making their own health care decisions. However, completing an Advance Health Care Directive (AHCD) is important for all individuals over 18 years of age as they may unexpectedly be in a position where they cannot speak for themselves, such as an accident or severe illness.
An AHCD allows individuals to appoint a person who has power of attorney to make care and treatment decisions on their behalf, and give instructions about their health care wishes. What this means is that you are able to specify in writing your basic philosophy about health care decisions and select someone to be your voice in the event that you are unable to make your wishes known. When beginning this process, it is very important to discuss your beliefs and desires with your family members, especially the person you select as medical power of attorney. I realize this may not be the kind of thing you discuss during family dinner time, but the more open these discussions are, the more families become aware of individual viewpoints.
The Secretary of State's Advance Directive registry began on March 1, 2005. "Arizonans will now have a secure location to keep their vital records for health care treatment if they are too injured or sick to speak for themselves," said then Secretary Brewer. "I am proud be a part of this program that will help families and friends know the requests of their loved ones. Using this registry should give piece of mind to program participants," stated Secretary Brewer. "They are making their requests known and the information will now be readily accessible in a time of crisis."
To participate in the registry, Arizonans call the Secretary of State’s office at 602-542-4285 or visit their Web site at www.azsos.gov. The steps are listed and seem to be easy to follow. There is no fee to use the registry and the information submitted is confidential and protected. The office will notify the sender that the directive has been added to the registry, ask for verification of the information and be sent a password to access the registry.
Have those conversations with your close family members. When beliefs have been discussed openly, there is less chance for disagreements in a time of crisis. As always, feel free to contact me here at church if you have questions or concerns.
In Christ’s Love,
Denise Viker , Parish Nurse