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The Essential App for Advance Directives

It seems like every day there is a new app to make your life easier and less stressful. In fact, if you have a good idea the odds are someone over in Silicon Valley has already turned it into an App.

But what is an advance directive and how did the ABA make everyone’s life easier?

If you are unable to make medical decisions on your own, an advance directive guides an individual on the kind of medical care you would like to receive and designates someone to make medical decisions for you.

An important document like this will not be of much use in an emergency if it’s tucked away in a file cabinet or a safe deposit box. And the last thing you want to do in a time of crisis is search around your house looking for a document that dictates who will make all medical decisions.

That is why the American Bar Association’s Commission on Law and Aging has come up with the app “My Health Care Wishes.” This app allows you to import and store your advance directive, along with other important/critical information on your Smartphone.  If there is ever an emergency in your life, quickly launch the app and you will have everything you need. The ABA notes that all your information is protected because the data resides only on your Smartphone and not on any server or cloud service.

But lets say you don’t have a Smartphone (which is very rare in our society). Well, it’s a good bet that someone close to you does, and having your information on that person’s phone could be a life saver.

Here’s an example: Let’s say you live in San Francisco and your son, who holds your health care power of attorney, lives in Washington, D.C.  While on vacation in Boston you are suddenly rushed to the ER at Mass General Hospital.

A “My Health Care Wishes” wallet card is found stating that your son has your advance care plan on his iPhone.  Your son is coaching soccer in D.C. but with one click he is able to email the documents needed to speak with hospital staff to make key decisions. Crucial moments are saved and your son is there in a way never possible before in a medical crisis.

The most important first step is to have an advance directive, which most Americans don’t.  But once you have one, make sure it’s there when you need it most.

By Daniel Mayper – Guest Blogger

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