I’m always being asked by my doctor or the hospital if I have advance directive documents. What is this? by: Jesica L. Thorson
An advance directive document involves deciding who will be your voice and advocate as well as the specific treatment you do or do not wish to receive if you are unable to speak for yourself. In Indiana, the legal document you need for advance care planning is called an Advance Directive Appointing a Health Care Representative. The purpose of this document is to name someone who can make health care decisions for you if you are unable to do so for yourself. In addition, there was a major law change that went into effect on January 1, 2023, regarding advance directives. The powers your representative has include but are not limited to the authority to withdraw or withhold health care, access medical records, hire health care providers, admit you to a health care facility, and access your medical records including mental health records. When naming someone as your healthcare representative, you need to make sure this person knows what your wishes and beliefs are in regard to continuing and withdrawing medical treatment. It is a good idea to talk to an elder law attorney as well as your family and primary care physician when finalizing these documents.