It can be an upsetting prospect to think about losing the ability to speak directly with your doctor or to communicate your wishes about treatment, including end-of-life instructions. You have the right to express your desires concerning your medical treatment. It is critical that you make your health care wishes known through your Health Care Directive. Sometimes known as an “Advance Directive” or “Living Will,” this document provides instructions on the type, level and duration of care you would like. It is an important document that works with your Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care Decisions to empower your Attorney-in-Fact to confidently carry out your wishes.
Your Health Care Directive may include provisions such as:
- Refusing all medical care
- Removing life support in the event of a permanent vegetative state or terminal condition
- Instructions to use all efforts to sustain life, no matter the circumstances
- Specifying a time period to remain on life support or to withdraw it
- Religious considerations such as refusal of blood products or transfusions