Claiming your rights in healthcare
An advance directive is a written statement that documents your particular healthcare decisions or appoints another person to make such decisions on your behalf. Advance directives included living wills and durable powers of attorney for healthcare.
Why should you develop advance directives?
- To protect your right to make medical choices that affect your life.
- To assist your family with difficult decisions that often determine your quality of life.
- To assist your physicians with decisions regarding your total care.
Give your family, physician and hospital admitting team a copy of your advance directive so that they are aware of your wishes. Don't worry! If you ever change your mind about your living will or power of attorney, it is reversible at any time.
What is a living will?
A living will states the kind of medical care you want or do not want to receive if you become unable to make your own decisions because of terminal illness. A living will takes effect when your disease or injury has progressed to the point where there is little hope of recovery or quality of life. In your living will you can choose the direction of treatment you want to have included or excluded from your care, such as:
- Respiratory assistance
- Tube feedings
- Any other procedures
What is a durable power of attorney for healthcare?
A durable power of attorney for healthcare is a legal document that allows you to name another person, such as a family member or close friend, to make medical decisions for you if you should become unable to make those decisions for yourself. Remember to talk about your wishes for your healthcare with a person you name as your agent or representative. With a power of attorney, your agent can accept or decline any treatment on your behalf.