If you have ever had an emergency healthcare situation, you know how scary it can be to feel forced into making a medical decision in a hurry. You might feel as though you do not have all the information you need. Or maybe you wish you had more time to choose, or at least agree with, your plan of action.
However, have you considered what would happen if you were unable to make decisions for yourself? And have you thought about who you would want making medical choices on your behalf? Although these may not be things you would like to consider, choosing a healthcare surrogate may be an important part of your estate planning process.
Who will make decisions for you if you become incapacitated?
Your primary physician might consider you “incapacitated” if you are unable to make decisions for yourself due to specific changes in your physical or mental capabilities. And while Florida laws do not require you to have an advance directive, establishing one would help those around you respect your wishes.
It might be wise to designate a healthcare surrogate. This person could consult with medical providers on your behalf, provide informed consent, and make choices in accordance with your wishes. When communicating your desires about your healthcare decisions, you may want to have clear conversations with your loved ones regarding your:
- Physical abilities
- Cognitive functioning
- Severe pain
It is likely that whomever you designate to make medical decisions for you will be aware of many of your wishes. However, it is also possible that a healthcare surrogate may not be familiar with your desires for handling concerns in each of these areas.
Prepare your loved ones to respect your wishes
Discussions about your incapacitation might be uncomfortable. However, having conversations about your wishes now can prevent your chosen healthcare surrogate from feelings of guilt and regret later on if they question whether they made the right choice.
As you consider planning for your future, it is important to remember you are not alone. Your loved ones want to help you. And with your guidance and proper planning, they can.