When it comes to deciding how your end-of-life care should look, it’s important that you’re able to see that both your family members and medical team know your wishes. One way that you can accomplish this is by creating an advance directive.
What Is an Advance Directive?
Advance directives are legal documents that outline your wishes regarding end-of-life care. Two common advance directives are a living will and durable power of attorney.
Living Will A living will is concerned with treatment that would prolong life when someone is near death. This document is often used to state that the patient does not want to be kept alive “on machines” after their bodies have naturally given out. With this document, you can also include instructions for things like the use of dialysis, tube feeding, organ or tissue donation and if you want to be resuscitated in the event your breathing or heartbeat stops. However, a living will does not prevent a doctor from prescribing pain medication.
Durable Power of Attorney
Another advance directive that you may have is a durable power of attorney for health care. This document allows you to designate another person to make health care decisions for you when you no longer can or do not wish to.
Choosing to sign an advance directive is a very personal choice, but one that is important in ensuring your wishes are followed when it comes to your care. If you’d like more information or documents regarding advance directives, ask your primary nurse or therapist about these important legal documents or call (508) 383-7000.