Advance Directives for Medical Care
When patients lose their ability to make their own medical decisions, they are more likely to receive care they don't want, care they don't need, or care that simply doesn't work.
Preparing an advance directive will help you have a better and more comfortable healthcare experience. An advance directive is a legal document that gives specific instructions to caregivers and family in the event you encounter a terminal illness, catastrophic injury, or some other end-of-life situation.
Advance directives are a way to prepare for "what-if" scenarios. With decisions made in advance, you preserve your right to do things the way you want.
There are two basic types of advance directives:
- Living Will – provides written instructions for treatments such as resuscitation, feeding tubes, breathing machines, blood transfusions, dialysis, and medications
- Medical Power of Attorney – designates someone to be your agent and authorizes him or her to make medical decisions on your behalf
Any person 18 years of age or older can prepare an advance directive. You do not need a lawyer to create one, but it's not a bad idea to hire one to review your documents to make sure they comply with the laws of your state.
Use the following links for information and forms specific to your state.
- About Advance Directives – Washington State Medical Association
- Idaho Health Care Directive Registry – Secretary of State's Office
- Living Will and Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care forms
- End of Life Registry & Advance Health Care Directives – Montana Department of Justice
- Advance Directives – Department of Consumer and Business Services
- What Is a Living Will? – Oregon State Bar
- Planning Ahead – National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization
- Advance Directives and Do Not Resuscitate Orders – American Academy of Family Physicians
- Consumer's Tool Kit for Health Care Advance Planning – American Bar Association