April 16 is Health Care Decisions Day in the commonwealth. On this day, Virginians should review their estate plans to be sure they address end-of-life care. If you have not yet made critical health care decisions, you should use this awareness day to begin the process.
End-of-life matters and other health care issues can be difficult to tackle. After all, nobody enjoys thinking about illness, incapacitation or death. Still, with some planning, you have a say in what happens to you when you are most vulnerable.
Whether you are healthy or have a chronic medical condition, you probably have some deep feelings about medical procedures. For example, you may not want doctors to put you on a ventilator or use other life support technology. With an advance directive, you can tell health care providers about the procedures you want and do want.
Health care agents
Eventually, due to incapacitation, you may become incapable of making your own medical decisions. You do not want to leave your medical care to chance, though. By naming a health care agent, you have a trusted person to make medical decisions for you. According to the Virginia State Bar, you are free to name virtually anyone to be your health care agent.
Even if you have addressed health care in your overall estate plan, those closest to you may not be familiar with your wishes. Consequently, you may want to use Health Care Decisions Day to have some meaningful conversations with your family members and friends.
Ultimately, by explaining your wishes, you may increase your chances of receiving the care you want when you most need it.