Partners In Home Care encourages all individuals, regardless of age, to consider one's wishes in the event of an unexpected accident or medical emergency. Advanced directives are legal documents that provide family members and medical professionals with health care directions in the event that you are unable to communicate those wishes. A little advance planning can save family members the distress associated with making crucial medical decisions. Following are explanations of three basic types of advanced directives used in Montana.
Living Will for Health Care (My Choices/Montana End-of-Life Registry)
A living will for health care is different than a financial living will. Its purpose is to make clear to family members and medical professionals what your wishes are in the event that you cannot communicate on your own. The My Choices document is easy to complete, and will let family members know important information, such as whether you want a feeding tube or artificial hydration. The My Choices document also designates your durable power of attorney for health care.
Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care
Your durable power of attorney (DPOA) is charged with making health care decisions for you in the event that you are unable to make them yourself. The My Choices document contains a section to make this designation. A medical durable power of attorney is different from a financial durable power of attorney.
The Comfort One program has been eliminated from the Emergency Medical Services system and replaced by Provider Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST).
Existing Comfort One documents and bracelets are still honored by EMT personnel and your wishes will still be followed by the EMT personnel. You may wish to discuss POLST with your provider if you want your wishes expanded beyond withholding life sustaining treatment at home or wish the medical facilities and other medical providers to honor your wishes. A POLST document will be transferable from home to facility and will be honored by all personnel regardless of setting.
For more information, please see:
http://bsd.dli.mt.gov/license/bsd_boards/med_board/polst.asp or for a copy of the form http://bsd.dli.mt.gov/license/bsd_boards/med_board/pdf/polst.pdf, or call Jerry Morse at the Board of Medical Examiners, (406) 841-2328.