You have the right to make decisions about your health care. This includes the right to accept or refuse medical or surgical treatment. You also have the right to plan and direct the types of health care you may receive in the future if you become unable to express your wishes. You can do this by making an Advance Directive document.
Advance Directives are documents that include Power of Attorney for Health Care, Living Will, and Financial Power of Attorney for Health Care. These documents legally tell in writing either who you would wish to make your healthcare decisions for you in the event that you are unable to do so, or provide guidance to your physicians regarding how you would wish your health care be decided in the event that you have a terminal condition or are in a persistent vegetative state.
Advance Directives are your personal wishes. When you make an Advance Directive, you’ll consider many issues about your health care in the event you are unable to verbalize your wishes yourself. In a Living Will, these issues include life-sustaining procedures such as ventilation, feeding tubes in the event you are in a terminal condition or persistent vegetative state. In a Power of Attorney for Health Care, these issues can be addressed, but also include who you would wish to speak on your behalf as your agent, in the event you are unable to do so yourself. An Advance Directive does not; however, include decision-making for mental health issues or treatment.
We’ve put together a list of some of the most frequently asked questions to help make you an informed healthcare consumer when it comes to Advance Directives and aid in your decision-making process. You can also review a list of twenty-five topics that should be discussed with your healthcare agent before making a Power of Attorney for Health Care. We have also compiled a list of other sites and resources for you to explore.