Advanced Directives for Medical Care – If, When, and How Long?

No one likes to think about it, but there’s no time like the present to start thinking about your medical care as you age.  Planning out your care in advance will not only give you an opportunity to let your wishes be known, but it will also take much of the burden off of the family on how to proceed with your care.  

One of the most important aspects of advance care planning is stipulating whether or not you wish to proceed with certain medical interventions and treatments, especially if it’s an end-of-life decision.  Advance directives need to be in writing and clear.  

Some of the following interventions or treatments that need to be addressed is whether or not you would like administered:

CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation)

Restarting the heart when it has stopped beating – this can also be part of your Do Not Resuscitate orders (DNR)


Letting a machine take over your breathing if you are unable to breathe on your own – it’s necessary to specify the “if”, the “when” and “for how long” in this case

Feeding Tube

Nutrition intravenously or as a tube in the stomach – another option where you must specify the “if”, “when” and “how long.”  You can include a Do Not Intubate order as well – just mention it to your doctor and they will include it in medical records.


Utilized when the kidneys no longer function.  Kidneys remove waste from the blood and manage fluid levels.  Dialysis is pretty common, but if this is a possibility towards the end of life, this is another scenario of specifying “if, “when” and “how long”.


If in an end of life scenario, do you want antibiotics to treat your infections aggressively, or leave to run its course?

Palliative care/Comfort care

Perhaps the most personal and emotional aspect of planning, palliative care/comfort care needs to be specified.  It includes many options such as ways you want pain managed, where you want to die (at home/hospital?), avoiding invasive tests, and more.  This is also a case of “if,””when” and “how long?”

Organ donation

In the case of organ removal, you will be put on life-sustaining treatment until the surgery is complete.  In the case of end of life, do you want to be kept alive artificially for this procedure?

Planning your care in advance can be difficult, overwhelming and discouraging.  Home to Home Advisory Services understands this and can help.  We are a care planning, care management and transition assistance business, focused on helping seniors navigate smoothly through life transitions.  Our care planning and care management services help seniors navigate the private and public senior living and healthcare systems.  Our planning efforts help our clients develop a “roadmap” to enable them to prepare for changes as life evolves.  We can answer any questions and cover all bases when it comes to planning care.  

Advanced Care Planning – British Columbia

Reach out today and let us help you bring peace of mind.

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