Advanced Directives – Q & A

I am helping my dad with end-of-life planning—getting his will updated, planning his funeral. I keep seeing references to advanced directives. What are they and does Dad need one?

AFL discourages using Advanced Directives, which are documents that try to communicate your father’s health care wishes as he ages. Our concern with Advanced Directives relates to the fact that they can be interpreted a variety of ways depending on the doctor caring your Dad, who may have no knowledge of your father’s values, which could impact his or her subsequent care of your dad if he were unable to communicate his wishes.  We suggest having your father appoint you or another family member as his Health Care Power of Attorney. This person needs to know and understand your dad’s values and wishes pertaining to his health care.  Patients’ Rights Council is a great resource to learning more about Health Care Power of Attorney.

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