Even if you have had good health throughout most of your life, you simply cannot predict the future. Eventually, you may have to deal with a serious medical condition or life-altering injury. Even worse, because of incapacitation, you may not be able to make your own medical decisions.
Creating an advance health care directive is one of the more effective ways to remain in control of your personal health care. This directive explains to doctors the medical treatments you want them to use to save your life or otherwise treat you. Here are three signs it is time to revisit your existing advance directive.
1. Your health has declined
It can be difficult to develop a meaningful advance directive when you are in good health. After all, medical treatments may be more of an abstract thought than a reality. Once your health begins to decline, though, you may have some very clear ideas about the medical treatments you want and do not want to receive.
2. Your family has changed
If you have married the love of your life, had children, divorced someone or otherwise changed the makeup of your family, your advance directive may no longer reflect your genuine intentions. According to the American Cancer Society, updating your advance directive every time your family makeup changes ensures your loved ones know and respect your wishes.
3. Too much time has passed
If more than a couple of years have passed since you completed your advance health care directive, you may not know exactly what it says. Because you do not want doctors to follow the wrong instructions, it is advisable to review and update your advance directive every year or two.
Ultimately, by revising your advance directive periodically, you boost your chances of receiving the right medical treatments when you most need them.