Maybe you've already completed your health care directives? If so, kudos to you, and here's a little quiz: What should you do with your documents once theyare completed?
Lock them in my safe deposit box for safe keeping
Put them in a drawer somewhere in my house
Feel satisfied that I'm now good to go for the long haul
Make a zillion copies and pass them out to all of my loved ones and to my doctor(s)
Discuss with my family what my choices are and what values I've based those decisions on
Upload them to an online registry company like Docubank
4,5, and 6
Re: 1.) and 2.) --Many people put their advance care planning documents into their safe deposit box along with all of their other important papers. If you have done so, take them out immediately! If you end up in a medical crisis, getting access to your box during banking hours is at worst unlikely, and at best, a hassle. The documents will do no good if they are not accessible, and likewise with having them lying about the house "somewhere".
Re: 3.) -You can definitely pat yourself on the back that you are one of the 29% in the country who have taken this step towards having a say at the end of life even if you can't speak for yourself. But this is an ongoing process, and things change. Revisit your documents once/year on your birthday or New Year's Day, whenever there is a significant change in your medical status or if you go through a significant life event such as a death or a divorce.
Re: 4.) --You can't make too many copies! Share them with your family and others who love you, with your doctor and with your hospital if they have a way to include them in your patient record. And make sure they know what is in them!
Re: 5.) -Uploading your documents to an online registry like Docubank is a great way to make sure they are accessible in time of crisis. You are given a sticker to place on your driver's license or ID, and a card with a number and code so that a hospital can get immediate access to all your documents 24/7.
Re: 6.) -It's been shown that if the first time a family sees a family member's medical directives is in a time of crisis, they will often question the decisions made as just being check marks on a form. It is much easier for the family to honor the choices in the documents if they have been told in a person's own voice what it is they desire and value.
For help sorting through whatever you have compiled so far, no matter how much or how little, I am available to work one-on-one with you to complete an Exit Plan that your family will thank you for. Contact me for a free, no-obligation 15-minute consultation. I'd love to help!