Free «Advance Directives» Essay
Advance directives have several major purposes. Martzo and Sherman (2006) say the first and perhaps most important is that they are mechanism by which individuals who are currently competent indicate the type of healthcare they would like should they lack decision-making capacity at some time in future when a medical decision needs to be made (p. 148). There is clear guidelines to healthcare providers and relatives concerning the kind of medical care one would desire to receive in advance of the need for that care. Martzo and Sherman (2006) say “Advance directives generally are discussed in the context of the right to forgo life-sustaining treatments” (p. 148). Nevertheless, advanced directives can be used to guide administration of specific treatments as they were in the case of Harriet billings. Martzo and Sherman (2006) argue that advance directives pertain to decision making about any kind of healthcare, and they may be executed by any adult as long as he or she possesses the requisite decision making capacity (p. 148).
The second purpose of advanced directives as Martzo and Sherman (2006) explains is to provide guidance, especially to healthcare professionals, concerning how to proceed with decision making about life-sustaining treatment for patient with diminished capacity (p. 148). In case the patient is not in a position of making decision, a great deal of confusion can occur, concerning how healthcare decisions are to be made, who has authority to make them, and the kind of treatment to be offered. It has been found that relatives of the patient with advanced directives do report fewer issues with communication with healthcare providers concerning treatment decisions and believed that the directives had contributed the process.