It’s a legal document. It tells your doctors what medical care you want and don’t want. And it’s only for when you can’t speak for yourself due to an accident or illness. It’s called an “advance directive” because you make these decisions before you need care. It can include information about:
Whether you want to be kept alive on machines
If you wish to donate your organs after you pass away
If you already have an advance directive, we suggest you:
Keep a copy for yourself
Give a copy to your health care agent
Give a copy to all your providers
Take a copy with you if you go to the hospital or emergency room
Keep a copy in your car (if you have one)
A living will is part of your advance directive. It lists your wishes for medical treatment if you are terminally ill or can’t speak for yourself. It tells your agent and doctors what treatments you do or don’t want. These are treatments or care that could keep you alive when there’s no chance of recovery.
You can name almost anyone you want to be your health care agent. This is a piece of your advance directive. People sometimes call it the “durable power of attorney for health care” or “medical power of attorney.”
Your agent will speak for you and make health care decisions based on what you want done or what is in your best interests. You decide how much power your agent will have to make these decisions. You can also decide when you want your agent to have this power. It can be right away. Or only after a doctor says that you’re unable to decide for yourself.
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