Advance directives (AD) are documents that specify a patient's wishes in the event they are unable to communicate with their caregiver. There are several different types of these documents and different types are acceptable in different states. These documents are also known as Living Wills, Advance Directives, 5-Wishes, Personal Directive, Medical Directive, and Advance Decision. Other documents that are used for this purpose are the Power of Attorney for Health Care and the Health Care Proxy. These two documents differ from the others because they give power to a specific person to make health care decisions for the patient if he or she is unable to do so.
According to Health News, July 11, 2017, 37% of Americans have some form of AD in the event of their being unable to make health care decisions for themselves. The study sighted goes on to say that, “The research team found that 36.7 percent of adults completed an advanced directive of some kind: 29 percent had living wills, 33 percent had health care powers of attorney and 32 percent had undefined advanced directives.” (source: Reuters January 23, 2018). This means that more than 100 million Americans have some form of AD. But where are they?
ADs are kept by patients in a variety of locations and whether or not they can be obtained by caregivers when they are needed is very much in question. Locations vary widely. Some are kept at home while others are in safe deposit boxes, many are deep in the files of attorneys offices while others are stored with a patient's records at a hospital that they took it to. Having the document on hand in the patient's current health care facility is not a forgone conclusion.
Another problem with the current system is that frequently the patients circumstances or view of end-of-life care has changed. Unfortunately, it is likely that the document has not. Regular review of these documents is important and made less likely when the document is stored somewhere that the patient does not have easy access to. Patients are much less likely to keep these documents up to date if they have to go to a hospital or attorney's office and undergo the time and expense of changing the document. Once this document is filed it is likely to go unaltered until it is needed; and then it is too late.
Even if you manage to store your document in an accessible place and keep it up to date regularly, there is still the problem of portability. Each state has its own criteria by which the validity of these documents is determined. Simply put, a document created in your home state may not even be considered a legal document just across the state line. This becomes even more of a problem for individuals who travel for work or have homes in multiple states. These problems of accessible storage, keeping the document up-to-date, and portability result in a large probability that, even if you have an AD, it may do you no good. Thankfully there is a solution to these problems. Advance Directives Registry (ADR) was created specifically to solve these issues.
At ADR we have developed a secure, convenient and dependable solution. ADR stores these documents in a secure HIPPA certified location with 24/7 access for patients and caregivers. No more schlepping around to all the hospitals in town to file your AD or repeating that journey to update it. A simple registration card in your wallet informs caregivers of the location and accessibility of your AD. All they have to do is contact the registry, enter your registration number and pin from the card and they can view a read-only copy of your AD.
Updating your documents is just as simple. Just log into your on-line account with your registration number and a password only you know, and you will be able to archive old documents and replace them with new ones. In some states, electronic, editable documents are approved so you don't even have to write a new AD just change the parts you want in the existing document. Advance Directives Registry will contact you regularly to remind you to check your document and make sure that it still reflects your wishes.
ADR also solves the portability problem. When you join Advance Directives Registry, you will be provided with document templates for each of the 50 states. Simply choose the state you want to be covered in and complete the document. Even if you travel in several states ADR has a solution for you. Since we allow you to maintain multiple documents in your registry, you can keep ADs from each of the states in which you live and travel assuring that you will be protected when and where you need it.
With over 100 million ADs in existence, the need for Advance Directives Registry has never been greater. Many states have created or are now investigating creation of their own directories, but this does not solve the portability issue. ADR provides a turnkey solution to individuals, states, hospitals, HIEs, attorneys and other service providers, to the problems facing a patient with an AD.