Have you identified whom you want to speak on your behalf about your care if you are not able to communicate? Have you shared your wishes with your family? Advance directive (AD) forms can help you provide instructions for your doctor, family members and your local hospital to rely on in a difficult situation. These forms can help give clarity and comfort to your family during a very stressful time and help you exercise your right to consent to, or refuse any medical treatment.

An advance directive is a legal document that should be shared with your physician, family and hospital. Filing it with the Vermont AD Registry, an online data base, supports electronic access to your advance directive for your provider and the hospital where you’ll be receiving care. You can also make minor changes to your AD through the registry.

Rutland Regional Medical Center can help you complete this complicated and confusing form. The Community Health Team at Rutland Regional is ready to help, with trained volunteer explainers available to work with you to plan and document your advance directives. They explain the forms, answer your questions, and make and file copies all in a caring, skilled and compassionate manner. If you have a technical or tough question, they will refer you to your health-care professional. All your documents are processed and filed as you wish. This is a free service, and we are committed to assisting as many members of our community as possible.

For more information or to make an appointment, call 802-776-5507. An explainer will meet you at the Community Health Improvement office at 71 Allen St., Suite 202. They try to be as accommodating as possible and schedule an appointment that works best for you.

You can view and print out the advance directive short form online: https://vtethicsnetwork.org/forms.

This week’s Health Talk is written by Krista Neary, community health worker, Community Health Improvement, Rutland Regional Medical Center, www.rrmc.org.

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