You should have an advance directive for health care. You use an advance directive when you are really sick or hurt. It tells your doctors and family what kind of medical care you want and do not want. They will use it if you are unable to tell them about your care.
Pennsylvania has two kinds of advance directives:
- Living wills – A document that tells others about your medical care choices.
- Health care power of attorney (or durable power of attorney) – A document you use to choose a person to make your health care choices if you are not able to do so. This person is called your "attorney in fact."
It is easy to make your advance directive. Talk to your doctor to get started. Talk to your doctor and family about your medical care if you are sick or hurt.
After you choose the kind of care you want, fill out an advance directive health care form. Be sure to keep the original, signed copy. Give a copy to all your doctors. Give a copy to your family and to your attorney in fact.
You can cancel or change your advance directive at any time.
The state of Pennsylvania offers more information on Advance Directives.