Who Speaks For You When You Can’t Speak for Yourself?

When you get in an accident or are seriously sick, who’s going to choose the care you need?  Who’s going to decide when it’s time to keep fighting and when it’s time to let go?

The time to answer these questions is NOW, while you’re still in your right mind.

The Advance Health Care Directive: a Work of Genius That Could Save Your Life or Make It Worth Living

You’ve probably heard about Advance Care Directives, legal documents which you sign (while you are healthy) that allow a family member or other friend to speak for you when you can’t speak for yourself.  Like after an accident or in a very serious illness.

Your doctor, insurance provider, or a state office can give you a great directive that meets the requirements of your state. In addition, go to Kaiser Permanente and search the site for “Advance Care Directive Forms.”  On the search results page, select  “Northern California” on the left. This should take you to CA_advance_directive_forms.pdf.

Pages 12-14 help you determine exactly what choices you want made for you, including when life is no longer worth living, and how you want your spiritual needs met. This is a brilliant addition to any legal directive in any state.

Do Your Directive Now, and Do It Right!

Filling out the paperwork isn’t hard, and in most (if not all states), you usually don’t need an attorney if you can find the right form and fill it out correctly. When in doubt, always consult an attorney!

The big problem is to get past emotional or spiritual issues and make the right choices:

  1. Who can you count on when you need them? Your spouse or sister might be the logical agents, but can you count on them to a) remember where they put a copy of your directive; b) stay calm enough in an emergency; and c) stand up as necessary on your behalf as they work with the medical system?
  2. Exactly what do you want done? It’s terribly scary to face the fact that at least once in your life you will need someone to be there for you when you can’t speak for yourself.  But if you don’t make these choices now, someone else may make the wrong choices later.
  3. What do you do with the directive once you’ve completed it? First, give copies to those who will stand up for you, to your medical practitioners and your attorney.  If you’re a Kaiser patient, the medical secretaries will scan your directive into your records.  (For more about what to do with your directive, see an upcoming post.)

Resisting Doing Your Directive?  Here’s Help!

It’s always easier to get emotionally loaded or spiritual issues handled well if you have the support of a trusted friend, clergy and/or attorney.  Recently, my husband and I found that doing an Advance Health Care Directive with friends can be an amazing catalyst for a richer life, individually and together.

By request, I’ve created a new workshop on Advance Health Care Directives for those who live in the SF Bay Area.  Also by request, I will be scheduling a teleseminar/webinar soon. In the meantime, add your questions and comments below. As always, many blessings,

Pat McHenry Sullivan


copyright 2012 by Pat McHenry Sullivan, t/a Visionary Resources