Advanced Directives and DocuBank
Will you get the care you want when you can’t ask for it yourself?
How to access your Advanced Directives with DocuBank.
You shouldn’t even notice your estate plan in an emergency. It will take care of all the details so that you can be fully present supporting yourself and your loved ones. In fact, that’s how we design the plans. A good estate plan is crafted to include what documents you will need during an emergency and how you will access those documents.
What is an advanced directive?
An advanced directive is a document that gives your doctor and your healthcare agent directions about the kind of healthcare you wish to receive. Your healthcare agent is the person who you elect to make decisions for you in case you are not able to speak for yourself. This may happen slowly as a result of aging, as with dementia. Some of our clients find out that it may also happen during an emergency as a result of an accident. The very same documents from your estate plan that help with a lack of capacity as a result of aging also help with lack of capacity as a result of an emergency.
What are the 3 problems with advanced directives?
The crucial document in this situation is your advanced directive. And there are three specific challenges around your advanced directive. First, you must have it in place before a medical emergency. If you do not have the ability to give your doctor or healthcare provider consent for a medical procedure, then you certainly don’t have the capacity to execute and sign a legal document at the time. It must be signed long before you need it. The second problem with advanced directives is access. Because during an emergency you may not have the ability to explain what the document is and where to find it to those who need it. Your advanced directive must be available to your healthcare agent. Do you know where your advanced directive is? Do your loved ones know? Could they get it if you were in an accident while on vacation? Finally, the third problem with advanced directives has to do with understanding your wishes. Have you had a conversation about your healthcare preferences with your loved ones? Do they understand how long and by what means you would want doctors to keep you alive? Without knowing the intention of the directive, your loved ones won’t be able to carry it out. Without a genuine conversation about it, they won’t be able to understand it.
Your advanced directive must be available to those who need it at all hours of the day.
Everyone who gets an estate plan with Hammond Law Group will fill out and sign an advanced directive. We think it is one of the crucial documents you need for a comprehensive estate plan. If you were in an accident and your healthcare agent were to call our office during regular business hours, we could most likely get a copy of that document to the people who need it. But who has an emergency during regular office hours? It is crucial that your advanced directive is available immediately when you need it at all hours of the day. A buried or unavailable advanced directive during an emergency puts your loved ones at risk for making bad or unwanted healthcare decisions. An unavailable directive also puts you at risk of getting healthcare that you don’t want.
One very specific solution we recommend for all our new estate plan clients is to use a service called Docubank. DocuBank is an online secure database that keeps your advanced directive where hospitals and physicians can access it at any time. We feel so strongly about the solution they provide, that we enroll all our new estate planning clients in Docubank and we pay the first year’s fee.
If your advanced directive is on a shelf in your home in another state, there may be no way to easily access it from your bedside at the hospital when you and your loved ones need it the most.
DocuBank has solved this problem by making your advanced directive available to any hospital in the world 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
We offer all our Legacy Protection Plan Members free membership to DocuBank. We feel that strongly about it. And every trust-based estate plan client is automatically signed up for 1 year of the Legacy Protection Program. That means if you’re a new Hammond Law Group client, you already have a DocuBank membership. Your advanced directive could be available to hospitals right now.
With your DocuBank account, you receive a medical card that can fit in your wallet so it will always be available to your loved ones or an emergency team. This card features important information as well as instructions for how to access your directives 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. According to a study conducted by The American Medical Association, over 70% of living wills are not accessible during an emergency. That means less than 30% of people who took the time to prepare their directives in advance will have their health care wishes heard.
Taking care of the advance directive problem is a huge step towards taking care of your family in an emergency. No matter where you are in the world, your healthcare directive is available to you any time.
DocuBank provides a place for doctors and hospitals to access your medical history, allergies, and current medications – potential lifesaving information in an emergency.
Along with your advanced directives, you may upload a current list of medications you are taking. This will allow physicians anywhere in the world to be aware of adverse drug interactions. This alone could keep physicians from prescribing the wrong medications in an emergency. You may also add your family medical history, alerting physicians of any proclivities for health issues professionals should be aware of. Finally, DocuBank allows you to upload your own relevant medical history including your pharmacy, primary care physician, any recent applicable surgeries or procedures you have had. All of this could be available to a physician, emergency room or hospital by following the simple steps on your membership card.
DocuBank provides one place for a healthcare provider and your healthcare proxy access to your advanced directive, a list of medications you are on, medications you are allergic to and any relevant medical history. If you are not able to speak for yourself, this is the best way to make sure you get the best healthcare possible and have your care wishes honored.
Learn more about Advanced Directives and DocuBank.
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