Even if your advance directives are filled out correctly, they’ll still be ineffective if they’re not accessible when it matters most. Unfortunately, when most people fill out advance directives, these documents are then left in a safe or file cabinet — where they can be of no use during a healthcare emergency.
To ensure your healthcare directives are accessible, make sure you, your loved ones and your physician all have copies. In your home, this could mean taping a copy to the fridge so emergency medical personnel will be able to find them. In the hospital, you’ll want to make sure your documents are uploaded to your electronic health record so physicians can access them whenever they make a care decision.
By disseminating these documents widely and thoroughly, individuals increase the likelihood that their care wishes are actually followed, ensuring all of their hard work crafting an advance care plan is not wasted.