There seems to be a lot more talk about Last Will and Testaments than advanced directives but the latter can be just as important. An advanced directive, or AD, is similar to a living will but holds legal authority that doctors or family must abide by, and the AD is written and controlled by the patient herself.
Advanced directives are very important because they instruct family members and medical personnel what to do in the case of illness, medical emergencies and end-of-life care.
A major concern with family and medical professionals is not just that a patient may lack an AD, but also that they may not be able to find the AD in the case of an emergency.
Filed away carefully, medical and financial directives may be unattainable if a patient is ill when out of town, if they cannot remember where they stored their papers, or if they are unable to speak or write.
It's a good idea to give a copy to an attorney or trusted person, but an even better idea is downloading an app that can have your AD at the tip of your fingers in the event that it becomes necessary to have it.
The New York Times reports on one such app called My Health Care Wishes. This app allows a person to download their documents and have them emailed or otherwise sent to necessary persons.
Not only that, but the directives of others can also be stored so that entire families can have their legal documents stored together if they wish. This can be very helpful when there are memory impaired family members as well as young children or family members who live far away.
The My Health Care Wishes app is free of charge if storing just one AD. For a small fee of four dollars, it can hold an unlimited amount of documents for whomever you choose.
DocuBank (fee paying) and MyDirectives (free) are other options. Using this kind of technology can really help family members and doctors alike, in case of accident or illness. Downloading comes with instructions and is easy to do.
For more information on the app, click here: http://www.americanbar.org/groups/law_aging/MyHealthCareWishesApp.html