When it comes to critical care and decisions, it is a good idea to set out your wishes in writing.
This can save loved ones a huge amount of anxiety should you become incapacitated while unwell, with instructions protected by the Health Care Decisions Law, 2019.
The legal document, referred to as an advance health care directive, outlines preferred medical treatments and procedures such as ventilator and feeding tubes, resuscitation and life-support. It also allows for appointment of a proxy to make healthcare decisions on his or her behalf, if the directive-maker wishes.
The directive will only take effect once the directive-maker is deemed to be mentally incompetent by a doctor and can be revoked at any time while they are still mentally competent.
Mentally incompetent means that you are unable to make a decision and do not possess the faculties to understand the nature and effect of decisions. Examples of being mentally incompetent include being sedated for medical reasons or suffering from a medical condition leaving you unable to make informed decisions (on many occasions, this might only be a temporary situation).
HOW TO COMPLETE AN ADVANCE HEALTH CARE DIRECTIVE
As well as being available for collection at Cayman Islands Hospital, Faith Hospital, and district health centres, the advance health care directive form is available from the
Ministry of Health website ministryofhealth.gov.ky/sites/ default/files/health-care-directive- and-proxy-appointment-form.pdf.
According to the 2019 law, a person must be older than 18 and mentally competent to file an advance directive. The form must be signed in the presence of a doctor, who will witness and sign it, as well as one other witness who is not the directive-maker’s beneficiary or proxy.
If you have filed an advance health care directive, give a copy to your lawyer and doctor, let your family know it exists, and add it to the Medic Alert Pack on your fridge, if you have one.
These packs are available from Hazard Management Cayman Islands and provide first responders with quick and ready access to information about your medical history, medications and allergies.
You can also take your directive to the HSA records department and ask for it to be attached to your records.
Individuals are encouraged to contact the Ministry of Health on 244-2318 or 244-2377 or visit the Ministry’s website (ministryofhealth.gov.ky) if they have any questions.
Jasmine also offers an advance care planning booklet. Contact 945-7447.