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:

  1. Living Will – provides written instructions for treatments such as resuscitation, feeding tubes, breathing machines, blood transfusions, dialysis, and medications
  2. 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.

Washington

Idaho

Montana

Oregon

General Resources